Practices will receive 4,000 pulse oximeters bought by NHS England to support child oximetry and help clinicians assess children with respiratory conditions over the winter.
The pulse oximeters will be distributed by regional teams, NHS England announced in its primary care bulletin sent yesterday evening (4 November).
Links to information, training and guidance on the E-learning for Healthcare portal and a product support email will also be provided.
The bulletin said: ‘Measuring oximetry in young children can be challenging and the supplied equipment has been procured with reliability and ease of use in children in mind.’
NHS England said the distribution would provide a chance to understand the benefits of using pulse oximeters in primary care.
Qualitative evaluation of the project will inform ‘any future decisions on a wider roll-out’, it said.
A major report in July warned that outbreaks of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) could lead to double the number of related hospital admissions this winter compared with a pre-pandemic year.
It said that primary care would experience particular pressure from an RSV outbreak, due to them seeing the majority of these patients, who are usually aged under five.
Meanwhile, health chiefs issued a warning as childhood respiratory infections rose ahead of winter.
Outside of paediatrics, all 16-64s testing positive for Covid who are not double jabbed became eligible for NHS England’s Covid ‘Oximetry @home’ scheme in September.
Under the scheme, those with symptoms measure their oxygen saturation levels with a pulse oximeter for practice monitoring.