SWEP Communique - COVID-19 Oxygen Supply

26 March 2020

Dear Practitioners

SWEP have been working with our Clinical Advisors to ensure we have measures in place to support our consumers and practitioners as we navigate the challenges presenting with the COVID virus.

Wherever possible, compliance to TSANZ Position Paper recommendations for home oxygen supply should be maintained. We do understand that some services are now being prioritized around COVID-19 and are implementing processes to ensure your patients are not at risk and that we ensure continuity of supply with oxygen equipment.

SWEP recognises that many laboratories and testing facilities will be not operating and thus additional information usually required may not be available. Effective immediately we will be implementing the following practices:

1.       Annual Reviews - Patients will not be sent review requests until the COVID-19 measures are relaxed and ongoing supply will be provisionally extended

               *   Usual reassessment will occur when conditions allow

2.       New patients on bridging O2 post discharge - Those patients who have commenced O2 via bridging O2 post hospital discharge arrangements can have an application submitted to SWEP  for post 30 day provisional approval without the need for re-testing on the proviso that:

*   The application should include the initial O2 results (ABG's, walk test results, nocturnal O2 data, and spirometry and ECHO results) that demonstrate eligibility for SWEP funding

*   Practitioner confirmation that the patient's ongoing O2 needs post 30 days remain unchanged (this may be possible via telehealth) without any further testing

*   Where the discharging hospital is unable to confirm ongoing need 30 days post discharge, a General Practitioner/HARP nurse may provide confirmation that the patient's ongoing O2 needs remain unchanged. In these instance, the application will be subject to Clinical Advisor approval prior to supply.

                 *   Usual re-assessment will occur when conditions allow


3.       New patient requests not on bridging O2 post discharge, will be assessed on a case by case basis.  Provisional approval may be provided based on any clinical tests available. Some of these applications may require Clinical Advisor approval prior to supply.


Our contracted supplier Supagas is pro-actively looking at their capacity in terms of stock holdings and staffing to meet expanded demand should this increase in the future. We note that all Supagas drivers have 'personal protection equipment' (PPE) and have received appropriate training.


We will keep you up to date if anything changes and as the situation with COVID evolves.  If you have any queries or concerns you can email swep@bhs.org.au



SWEP Management Team

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