So Frustrated with Oxygen Supplier in SE (Surrey)!

Hi everyone. I'm the carer for my husband who has very severe COPD.

I just need to vent about the oxygen supplier that took over the NHS contract from the previous supplier in March. (Name not mentioned, but if you're in the area you know who they are.) Problems with the previous supplier where virtually nonexistent for the three years they provided a concentrator and liquid oxygen for my husband. Now it seems that something goes wrong at least once a month. We are now going on to our fifth portable liquid oxygen flask because the fill valves either fail completely or become unreliable. Even the large liquid storage tanks now seem to be losing more oxygen than they did initially and are not lasting the standard two weeks before replacement, even though our use has not changed. We are also on our third concentrator since the Air Liquid one was replaced in May for one from the new company. The first concentrator proved faulty within the first few days. The second concentrator went wrong two months ago ... and now we're onto the third. The new company also messed up the O2 prescription.

It's endless and I am finding it totally frustrating and stressful. I'm losing days waiting for people to come and replace equipment. My husband is oblivious to it since I manage everything for him.

On the plus side, the new company is very responsive when something does go wrong. But why, oh why, oh why does it have to be this way when previously O2 supplier was no bother at all?

Sorry ... just needed to let off some steam.

12 Replies

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  • How stressful this sounds! Have you tried speaking to the person who ordered your husband's oxygen? They are paying the bill for the service so should be aware if there are failings. If they speak to the compnay on your husband's behalf they may be listened to more than you are. I hope that these are only teething problems and soon get sorted.

  • Not sure what you mean by the "person paying the bill" as it's the regional health authority that entered into a long-term contract with the new oxygen supplier. I'd really like to know who the person in the NHS is that is responsible for managing the contract, maybe I'll try to find that out in January.

    The oxygen supplier I'm sure is well aware there are problems as I've heard they've had to add extra staff to handle all the extra work. The problem with the liquid oxygen is that the new company switched to a different make of storage tank (whatever you call it) which is unsuitable for the portable flasks and is causing the valves on both to wear out early. The drivers that deliver liquid oxygen told me that was cause of problems months ago, so the company is well aware. The issue for them is that it's not easy to undo a bad decision after they've made the investment; albeit in the wrong equipment.

    There's nothing I can change the situation, other than manage my own stress levels about it. Easier said than done these days when it comes to stress though ....

  • I meant however ordered your oxygen. They can speak to the company on your behalf. If they find the company is failing to supply what is being paid for then the company can be fined or even lose their contract. Financial threats usually work best in these circumstances. ;)

  • The person you need to contact is :- Graham Delves - Home Oxygen Services Reprocurement Manager: Graham.delves@nhs.net or 01424 884404

    Unless we complain nothing will change. The new contracts allow for finacial penalties if the company do not meet their resposibilities or fail in service delivery.

    Best wishes

    Jo

  • Jo,

    Brilliant! I will send Graham my thoughts after the holidays. Thank you so much.

  • It may also be worth contacting :-

    Sharon Anderson

    Customer Satisfaction Co-ordinator

    Complaints (DOLBY MEDICAL HOME RESPIRATORY CARE LTD)

    DMHRC.Complaints@nhs.net

  • Definitely, I'll add Sharon to my list. Thanks.

  • Do you have a COPD nurse? I have and she is fabulous at sorting out problems to do with oxygen, whether it's holiday supplies, faulty equipment or general complaints.

    She is the one who checks your sats on home visits twice a year. Mine is due in the New Year.

    If you get no joy from Graham Delves, whoever he is, try the above.

  • Hi Gwen,

    Not really re the COPD nurse. We used to have a brilliant team of nurses, techs and specialists who did community work ... as far as I know the same team is there but since they all now work for Virgin (of Branson fame) and not the NHS (thanks to the current government!) even my husband's consultant can't get them to do anything without repeated requests and months of waiting.

  • That;s dreadful. How about your GP? Can he or she do anything to help? Obviously no this side of New Year, but after? Try Bronchiectasis r us forums and ask the 2,500 plus members for their advice. I'm sure some of them could help you solve this problem.

    Good luck and try to enjoy the Xmas break.

    Gwen

  • Thanks for the advice Gwen, I'll definitely try all available avenues in the new year.

  • OK. Don't forget.

    I'm on oxygen 24/7 and have been for almost 10 years now. Good luck. and Merry Xmas.

    Gwen

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