Answers to questions on Medical Gases, Oxygen and the COVID-19 pandemic

Tim Root, Assistant Head, NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service, Specialist Pharmacy ServicePublished Last updated See all updates
Topics: Medical gases

Answers to common questions covering: pharmacy responsibilities, medical gas committees, medical gas pipeline systems, gas delivery systems, and governance


As local leaders responsible for medicines supplies and use in hospitals, including medical gases, NHS Chief Pharmacists should keep themselves up to date with the current advice on NHS England and NHS Improvement’s website. Further information can be found within FutureNHS site. Registration for access to the Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation Workspace is needed. This includes a Resource pack: Improving oxygen resilience in a pandemic (Registration required for access).

In addition, a range of answers to common questions have been developed based on experiences during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic escalation and requests made for information to UK Regional Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance and Control leads. These are presented in the SPS pages below as well as in the attached word file.

Answers to questions

Answers to questions we’ve been asked are grouped by theme below.

Using Medical Gases Appropriately

Must read background material and guidance to support good medical gas use for hospital Chief Pharmacists and their teams

Pharmacy responsibilities and Medical Gases, Oxygen and the COVID-19 Pandemic

The pharmacy remit in relation to medical gases is covered, as well as the role in managing cylinder stock

Medical Gas Committees: their role, responsibilities, and membership

Describes why Medical Gas Committees are required, suggested membership and ToR, and their role during the pandemic

Medical Gas Pipeline Systems and Oxygen Supply Resilience

Using data, following guidance, and checking systems and flow rates for Medical Gas Pipelines and Oxygen Supply Resilience

Using different Gas Delivery Devices and implications

Clinical use of NIVs and HFNO and implications on pipeline capacity; the use of W-sized cylinders

Governance of Medical Gas Provision: key publications

Signposts to key publications from the Department of Health and Health Facilities Scotland


Change history

  1. added note that registration is required to access content on FutureNHS
  1. added link to NHSEI resource pack on improving resilience of oxygen supplies
  1. Medical gasses are under constant review and article series remains valid. Full content review due 2022, or sooner if National guidance dictates.
  1. Published