What are the rules for receiving a po... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation
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What are the rules for receiving a poc (portable oxygen concentrator) for ambulatory oxygen/


I have been prescribed oxygen cylinder was told by my consultant, when I explained my difficulties with it,that I should get whatever suits my needs best and I mentioned poc to him and he agreed. He asked oxygen assessment to make an urgent appt for me, over a week no response from them, so rang them up was told nobody in my area has one and they dont prescribe them. On checking and research was told that Air Liquide do have these poc and people in the Preston area do have them. I told oxygen assessment that my consultant had agreed, to which the respiratory nurse replied he cannot authorise or prescribe oxygen, only they can. They are refusing to give it to me saying its not cost effective. I cannot buy privately as I receive a low income on pension credit. Appreciate any advice or help you can offer.

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15 Replies


Air liquidi do two types of POC, inogen G2 or I-Go,

POC are cheaper than cylinders, one of service.

Cylinders are charge per cylinder, plus oxygen, plus transport .

I would insist on receiving the equipment that best suits your needs, after assessment .

Keep on at your consultant, medical equipment can not be refused based on cost.

I would even consider seaking legal advice?

Hi Rose,

I agree with everything Stone says. I would like to offer an argument for how cost effective a POC could be.

6 years ago, having been prescribed oxygen, I bought my own Airsep Freestyle POC. We were fortunate in having some savings we could use as it cost £3000 at that time. I have used it extensively since then and because of it I am free to leave the house anytime without having to calculate how much oxygen and how many cylinders I need to cart around with me.

So, since April/May 2008 I have had less than a dozen oxygen cylinders from my provider, thus saving them all the trips to Dorset that would have been necessary to keep me supplied, not to mention arranging delivery to all our different holiday destinations in the UK and Europe in those 6 years.

Of course the reality is, if I was still using cylinders I would probably not have left the house so much as they are so unwieldy. So my POC is my sanity saver as well as a money saver for the NHS.

I hope you are able to persuade your provider that a POC would be the best way of helping you.

Good luck, Jan :-)

I am assuming your prescription is suitable for a poc in terms of litreage and pulse flow useage.

I know they SAY poc's are available - my provider has 3 in its 'catalogue' and had me quite excited when I was heading for assessment. Unfortunately my litreage is too high.

I thought I could have anything in the book which would suit my needs but it seems to me that the provider decides the equipment according to what they have available. I needed 5Lpm continuous at home and my provider gave me 2 noisy machines! I asked for one 10Lpm one and the man said they only have a few and keep them for people who need 10+ Lpm. Thats fine but, if I need one it will be very long term and so, why not get one for me and make my life easier. He said my rooms were too big!! My nurse said it was up to the provider to decide how they provide for my litreage.

So I think its because the providers don't buy in enough expensive poc's because there is a large outward investment to buy them but little income thereafter as only once a year service. The cost of buying the pocs must be passed to the nhs if your nurse says they are not cost effective - short term budgets.

They already have loads of cylinders and, as stone says, they can charge per cylinder, oxygen and transport. So no profit in poc's. They keep one or two for loaning out on holidays.

Contact the consultant again - I would phone and ask for his secretary, they are often very helpful. (I would write down the points you want to make beforehand so you don't miss anything out). When my late husband was on oxygen we had problems - the resp. nurse said she couldn't change the prescription in case we sued her!! having spoken to the consultant wen ended up with a concentrator in the house, liquid oxygen for going out and also a poc for car journeys.

Good luck - you shouldn't have to fight for what is sensible for you ....... i think the resp.nurse may find a consultant trumps a nurse! Gill


Thank you for your responses. I am on 3L for ambulatory use only. I have been told by Air Liquide that they do have the poc machines and that many members are using in this area, which respiratory nurse said there wasnt anyone on it in my area. They were very helpful but they cannot do anything unless prescription is changed. Respiratory nurse said they cant offer me one or else they would have to offer one to everyone!! I am getting nowhere with the Respiratory Nurses. I would love to think consultant trumps a nurse, but from what she said he has no say as they are the prescribers sheesh! sounds like they are a Hitler regime. Its all black and white to them dont offer then no one knows poc's exist.

in reply to Hidden

I wonder if rules have changed. The Air Liquide website is currently showing the poc's only as 'holiday equipment' ie short term loan. There is no mention of them as for full time use.

Sounds like you have to fight your oxygen nurse on this one. You need to convince her that it will benefit your quality of life.

I recently had to change from my consultants hospital oxygen nurse to my local hospital o/n. Seems my local pct (or whatever) pays for it and she ' has to budget for all of this' (her words). She tried to change my whole prescription 'can't believe you need this much' but recognises now that I do! I am monitoring her!!!

Sadly I am not suitable for a poc otherwise I would certainly have a battle on my hands!

Good luck x

I got one OK ..... told my consultant we go away in our motorhome a lot & liquid O2 simply wasn't an option. My only big positive in life is to get away, so there was no way I would consider being grounded by a tin can full of oxygen.

On this one, better to deal with your consultant & not the O2 nurse. I always think the consultant is the all powerful one, far less constrained by rules, guidelines & budgets & far more concerned about the whole you (mental wellbeing etc) whereas the nurse has a pretty narrow brief & focus.

Good points

The inogen 2 others have mentioned only does set increments, and not more than 1lpm I believe. The igo will do a larger range of flow rates, 1 to 3 which will be a continuous flow, and can be used over night, and or 4 to 6 which can not be used over night as it is a pulsed flow. So basically depending on your own needs they may not be suitable anyway!


My needs are 3 on pulse flow which I have been told the Inogen and Igo fit the bill, both of which are provided by Aire Liquide.

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in reply to Hidden

Do you have a link please I have never seen them at that price on ebay.


Thank you Squady. Just wondering if buying from Hong Kong is safe as it has no medical approval for our lung condition. I think I would be wary at this price although would be wonderful if this was a genuine NHS approved portable oxygen concentrator, which I dont think it is.

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