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CQC Essentials: Agreed principles for defibrillators, oxygen and oximeters

The CQC will check that practices are able to immediately respond to the needs of a person who becomes seriously ill. It will expect practices to have defibirillators, oxygen and oximeters and for staff to be trained in CPR.

This article relates to the CQC key question: Is your practice safe?

CQC needs to be assured that practices are able to immediately respond to the needs of a person who becomes seriously ill.

We will consider the individual circumstances of the practice such as the practice’s knowledge and assessment of the emergency services available to them.

Defibrillators: According to current external guidance and national standards, practices should be encouraged to have defibrillators.

Oxygen: The National Resuscitation Council has the following view that: ‘Current resuscitation guidelines emphasise the use of oxygen, and this should be available whenever possible.’

Oxygen is considered essential in dealing with certain medical emergencies (such as acute exacerbation of asthma and other causes of hypoxaemia). If the practice does not have oxygen they are unlikely to be able to demonstrate they are equipped for dealing with emergencies.

Oximeters: The 2009 British Thoracic Society (BTS) guideline on the management of asthma recommend SpO2 monitoring by pulse oximetry as an objective measure of acute asthma severity, particularly in children. 

In addition, the Primary Care Respiratory Society (PCRS) states that it should be used to assess all acutely breathless patients in primary care. The need for pulse oximeters and a paediatric pulse oximeters should be risk assessed within a GP practice.

It would be unlikely that a practice could demonstrate that they are equipped for dealing with emergencies without a pulse oximeter.

CPR: This is mandatory. If a practice has not trained its staff, it would not have evidence that their staff could immediately respond to a person who requires resuscitation. 

The above guidance relates to Regulation 9 which states that:‘The planning and delivery of care and, where appropriate, treatment in such a way as to… ensure the welfare and safety of the service user.’

  • Professor Nigel Sparrow is senior national GP advisor and responsible officer at the CQC

More CQC resources

Picture: iStock

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