The All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group has made recommended medical professionals commit to measures that will ensure victims of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning are properly diagnosed.
These include educating the GP surgeries and pharmacies that have access to breath analysers as part of the smoking cessation services they provide, that these can be used to test for carbon monoxide exposure.
The Raising medical professionals’ awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning report was launched today and also calls for further research to be undertaken into levels of CO exposure.
The report follows from a study published by the Group in 2006 which examined public awareness of CO safety.
One of the major problems associated with diagnosing CO poisoning is that the symptoms are very similar to the flu. This not only leads to members of the public being unaware of the fact that they may be being poisoned, but also makes it difficult for medical professionals to make the correct diagnosis.
Co-Chair of the group, Maria Miller MP said: “During the course of this inquiry we have heard about case after case of patients going to their doctor with the tell-tale symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning yet being mis-diagnosed.
“This is unacceptable. More needs to be done to ensure that medical professionals spot the signs immediately and know how to treat it.”
London Ambulance Service
The report is published on the same day as the London Ambulance Service issues its feasibility study into pre-hospital CO monitoring of patients. This 12 month study concurs with the findings of the All Party Group, and calls for, among other things, CO monitors to be provided to ambulance staff to both aid diagnosis and ensure crew safety, and for improved training for all health professionals.