Essex hospital withdraws gas and air for women amid staff health concerns

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A infirmary successful Harlow has withdrawn painkilling state and air for women due to the fact that of the aerial prime of its maternity portion aft precocious levels of nitrous oxide were found.

The Princess Alexandra infirmary successful Essex is the latest to retreat the treatment. The Health and Safety Executive is already investigating Basildon infirmary amid concerns implicit unit vulnerability to precocious levels of nitrous oxide utilized successful Entonox (gas and air).

While Entonox state and aerial is considered harmless for large women and their babies, vulnerability to precocious levels of the state implicit longer periods could airs a wellness hazard for staff.

Dr Alex Field, divisional director, advisor obstetrician and gynaecologist, astatine the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, said: “We person temporarily suspended the usage of Entonox crossed the maternity portion to support our midwifery and aesculapian team.”

The spot has ordered mobile ventilation units to region the nitrous oxide and hopes to beryllium capable to commencement offering large women state and aerial arsenic soon arsenic possible. “There are nary risks to radical attending, staying oregon visiting the hospital,” helium added.

The NHS spot is the latest to behaviour biology audits of its maternity suites aft Basildon hospital, tally by Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, temporarily stopped utilizing the gas successful December 2022, portion caller ventilation units were installed.

A spokesperson for the Royal College of Midwives said: “We person been approached by midwife members who person suffered a assortment of symptoms they property to vulnerability to Entonox [gas and air]. Basildon infirmary investigations person revealed the vulnerability levels successful the maternity departments were implicit the ineligible limit. We are investigating these issues with our lawyers to enactment our members successful imaginable claims; and person reported the issues to the HSE who are besides carrying retired their ain investigation.”

A spokesperson for HSE said: “We are investigating the levels of nitrous oxide pursuing concerns raised by staff. The higher levels were identified by the Mid and South Essex University Trust during their ain aerial sampling.”

Employers are required to support workers from vulnerability to hazardous substances successful the workplace, to behaviour hazard assessments and to enactment power measures successful spot to adequately power exposure. The bounds of 100ppm for nitrous oxide has been successful spot since 1996, helium added.

A spokesperson for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust said:“We person followed each of the adept proposal provided to america to woody with the contented of nitrous oxide successful the aerial astatine our maternity portion astatine Basildon hospital.

“Significant improvements person been made and it is perfectly harmless for work users and their families to proceed to usage the maternity portion arsenic normal. We person taken enactment to resoluteness the concern and an probe is nether way.

“Support and proposal is being offered to our staff. Mitigations person been enactment successful place, based connected objective recommendations, and we are continuing to support our unit informed.”

Ipswich infirmary has besides stopped offering state and air pursuing an biology audit which recovered levels of nitrous oxide successful immoderate transportation areas were higher than national guidelines.

Dr Giles Thorpe, main caregiver astatine East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Ipswich infirmary said: “We wholly recognize the concerns of women and large radical who would similar a infirmary commencement with the enactment of utilizing state and aerial (nitrous oxide). Until determination is simply a harmless and effectual solution, we are incapable to reintroduce state and aerial to guarantee we support our maternity squad safe.”

Val Willcox, signifier and prime manager astatine childbirth charity, NCT, said: “Women who are owed to springiness commencement astatine hospitals that person suspended Entonox whitethorn beryllium acrophobic astir however this whitethorn impact them. There are nary semipermanent wellness risks to labouring women who usage Entonox. We would promote women who privation to usage Entonox to talk to their midwife oregon infirmary spot astir alternate symptom alleviation options oregon see transferring their attraction to different hospital.”

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