Nov 20: Daily Telegraph: NHS suggests families should keep an oximeter alongside thermometer at home
Covid patients should be sent to hospital earlier, researchers have said after finding that just a small drop in blood oxygen levels can indicate an increased risk of dying.
A paper published by UK academics and led by the NHS’s national clinical lead for patient deterioration found that current NHS guidelines on blood oxygen levels may be set too high.
It also makes a strong case for all UK households to keep an oximeter as well as a thermometer in their medicine cupboard at home.
The NHS currently considers blood oxygen levels of between 94 and 98 per cent as “normal” for treatment at home but the study, which compared oxygen readings taken by UK ambulance crews with outcomes, found that even small falls in readings below 96 per cent should ring alarm bells and may require hospitalisation.