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Number of NHS sleep studies double in a decade

pulse-oximeterThe number of people in the UK getting a sleep study conducted by the NHS has doubled from 10 years ago, accordingly to a recent BBC News story.

69,919 studies were conducted in 2007/8, whereas last year saw this increase to 147,610.

This is the total for all sleep studies, and there are a number of different tests for various conditions. However, Sleep Apnoea is the most common sleep disorder in the UK. It is therefore safe the assume that a significant portion of these will be for OSA.

How many people need a sleep study?

The increased numbers give food for thought. OSA is believed to affect 5% of the population - around 3.25 million. The majority of these are undiagnosed. Even with the increased number of tests it would take 20 years for that many people to have a study done.

It perhaps explains why more people are opting for an in-home sleep study to have OSA confirmed. The increased strain on services will inevitably lead to longer waiting lists; or have them restricted to more serious cases.

Have you had Sleep Apnoea diagnosed on the NHS over the last 12-18 months? If so, please leave a comment on this blog to share your experience with others.

Author: Helen Clarkson

About author: Helen Clarkson is a Sleep Specialist at Baywater Healthcare. Ms. Clarkson has worked with Baywater since 2008, working closely with patients in delivering sleep/bi-level services including sleep and respiratory, both in the home and clinic setting. This includes therapy initiation and troubleshooting support. Ms. Clarkson is responsible for delivering the Baywater Healthcare patient adherence management programme to ensure continuing patient therapy compliance. works in conjunction with NHS clinicians and procurement to deliver excellence in home and clinic-based services. She provides training on all aspects of sleep including devices and interfaces. Previously, Ms. Clarkson served as Respiratory Physiologist at Pontefract General Infirmary. Her position was Senior MTO for lung function/sleep department, and she was responsible for performing simple and complex sleep studies, sleep study analysis, CPAP initiation, therapy adherence and troubleshooting/service clinics, spirometry, lung volumes and transfer factor, reversibility, CPET, hyperventilation testing, EIA testing, skin prick testing, 6 min walk tests. She has also held roles as Respiratory Physiologist and Respiratory Technician, working closely with patients with respiratory disorders -- including ex-miners. Ms. Clarkson has a BSc (Honors) in Applied biology from University of Staffordshire. She also studied Developments in Sleep Medicine (advanced course) at St. Thomas’ Hospital, and took the Edinburgh Sleep Medicine course. She completed the BSS: Advanced sleep course and the ARTP NIV Course.

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