The NHS has asked veterinary surgeons across the country to donate animal ventilators to help tackle the anticipated shortage of the equipment as the pandemic continues.
The BBC estimates that there are currently between 300 and 400 animal ventilators in circulation, and that some of these would be suitable for use on human patients.
In a recent statement, DEFRA said: “The government and the NHS are ramping up our ventilator supply to prepare for expected increases in the number of patients suffering from severe respiratory problems.
“We have successfully procured additional ventilators through supply chains, and issued a call to industry to develop ventilators for use on the NHS.”
It added: “With the support of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, British Small Animal Veterinary Association, British Equine Veterinary Association, British Veterinary Association, Major Employers Group, Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists and the Animal Health Trust, we are also asking the veterinary community to help the country and the NHS to identify mechanical ventilators that were previously used on the NHS.”
“We are aware that many veterinary practices across the country may have NHS Compatible – Human Ventilators that they are not using for emergency animal care. To be clear we are not asking for ventilators only suitable for animals.”
Sue Paterson, BSAVA president, said: “We recognise that patients treated for COVID-19 in hospitals will benefit hugely from increased numbers of ventilators that can assist their recovery.
“It’s been a concerted effort where the veterinary community has rapidly responded to the needs of the government and the NHS by stepping in to provide support during these challenging times.”