Downloading PDF

Meeting pandemic demand for oxygen and ventilators

Meeting pandemic demand for oxygen and ventilators

Home » Case studies » Meeting pandemic demand for oxygen and ventilators

Staff from across the NHS Midlands and Lancashire (NHS ML) was deployed to support a national programme for oxygen, ventilation, medical devices and clinical consumables which ensured that sufficient ventilators were procured at a time of huge global demand and that all patients had access to oxygen when required.

Background
The COVID-19 pandemic led to an urgent requirement to build a national stockpile of ventilators, medical devices and clinical consumables, whilst also ensuring that the oxygen infrastructure in place had the capability and capacity to support the increased demand.

The Covid-19 Oxygen, Ventilation, Medical Devices and Clinical Consumables Programme was established to fulfil this requirement. Led by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the programme employed the knowledge and skills of staff from a wide range of clinical and non-clinical disciplines across the NHS, Ministry of Defence, Deloitte and PA Consulting. This was a UK-wide programme that worked closely with colleagues in all the Devolved Administrations and Crown Dependencies.

Action
An NHS ML associate director with specialist procurement expertise joined the cross-government team in the role of Deputy Programme Director for the first six months. He acted as a first point of contact for workstream leads with specific support and input to programme governance, international logistics and UK storage and logistics.

Programme delivery was split into four phases. Members of NHS ML’s Improvement Unit and other teams supported with programme management expertise throughout the phases.

  • Phase 1 (March-June 2020) ensured the NHS had sufficient supplies of ventilators, oxygen and consumables to meet Coronavirus demand.
  • Phase 2 (June-December 2020) focused on improving the quality and availability of devices, solidifying consumables system and stockpiles, establishing a ‘new normal’, and reducing reliance on complex supply chain systems.
  • Phase 3 (January-March 2021) focused on solidifying and maintaining the outcomes of Phases 1 and 2.
  • Phase 4 (April-September 2021) focused on transition activities towards medium to long term operational arrangements and the programme closure and transfer into the Medical Technology Directorate of the DHSC.

Impact

For patients

  • Due to action taken early in the pandemic, sufficient ventilators were procured at a time of huge global demand, to ensure that all patients had access to one when required.
  • Oxygen usage was monitored daily, allowing for interventions to take place as soon as any potential issues were encountered, meaning that all patients had access to oxygen when required.

For staff

  • The programme issued detailed guidance on correct use of ventilators and oxygen management via the e-Learning for Health website.

For trusts

  • There were clear processes for ordering equipment, and for urgent clinical need cases, deliveries were made within 48 hours.
  • Thanks to the support of multi-disciplinary teams, trusts were supported to better manage their oxygen supplies and, where necessary, urgent works were undertaken to upgrade old pipework and install new oxygen tanks.

“Thanks to the work of the Programme, no patient in the UK went without oxygen or a ventilator who needed it.” Robert Moorhead, Deputy Programme Director, Department for Health and Social Care

In December 2021 the programme won a Civil Service Award recognising excellent collaboration across organisation boundaries. 

View all

News and views

News

New podcast: Lessons from the Clive Treacey Review

In this three-segment podcast sequence, part of our Inside MLCSU series, we discuss the lessons learnt from the…

News

NHS Midlands and Lancashire Gender Pay Gap Report 2023

NHS Midlands and Lancashire has published its Gender Pay Gap Report for 2023. Download the report here.

News

New Podcast: Unravelling unconscious bias in healthcare

Join host Richard Caddy for another thought-provoking session in our latest podcast with our Inclusion Unit. Tune in…

View all

How we can help health systems

Developing health systems

Acting as an independent and trusted partner within the system to facilitate working across stakeholders and integrate elements of the provider system…

Learn more about Developing health systems
Developing health systems

Workforce resilience and transformation

Supporting systems to build a sustainable and integrated workforce, transforming systems, organisations and the workforce experience to improve resilience.

Learn more about Workforce resilience and transformation
Workforce resilience and transformation

Communications and engagement

Supporting ICSs with approaches to design and deliver effective communication, engagement and behavioural insights as a key enabler for system change and…

Learn more about Communications and engagement
Communications and engagement

Digitally enabled transformation and IT

Digitising care and partnering with systems for the transformation of digitally enabled service delivery (and other supporting processes) across vision, planning and…

Learn more about Digitally enabled transformation and IT
Digitally enabled transformation and IT

PHM analytics and decision support

Applying intelligence-led understanding of the health of the population to support the redesign of care and improve patient and financial outcomes across…

Learn more about PHM analytics and decision support
PHM analytics and decision support

Place and primary care transformation

Supporting providers to work together at a place and neighbourhood level to manage common resources, integrate community teams, improve health and reduce…

Learn more about Place and primary care transformation
Place and primary care transformation

Clinical redesign and provider collaboration

Redesigning how health and care works across England - placing people at the centre of their own health and care and utilising…

Learn more about Clinical redesign and provider collaboration
Clinical redesign and provider collaboration

Personalised healthcare commissioning services

Providing end-to-end funded care services, including patients as active partners in identifying their healthcare needs and then commissioning care to meet these.…

Learn more about Personalised healthcare commissioning services
Personalised healthcare commissioning services

Business enabling services

Delivering a wide range of support functions through transactional services, business partnering and transformation that drives efficiencies and releases value and time…

Learn more about Business enabling services
Business enabling services
MLCSU

Accessibility Tools