In April 2013, NHS England produced a clinical commissioning policy specification for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) which sets out that HBOT will only be commissioned for the following indications:
― decompression illness;
― gas embolism; and
― acute carbon monoxide.
Patients with other conditions who are seeking HBOT would need to make an Individual Funding Request (IFR). Both the HBOT specification and guidance on the IFR process can be found at the following links:
Whilst the results of the Rice University trial are interesting, larger, high quality clinical trials would be needed to demonstrate the efficacy of HBOT in treating fibromyalgia.
Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, some treatments can ease symptoms and support improved quality of life for patients. The treatments offered will depend on the severity of a patient’s condition, but may include:
― pharmacological pain relief;
― dietary and exercise advice;
― counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy; and
― self-management programmes which aim to give patients the skills and confidence to manage their conditions more effectively.
There are also a number of NHS trusts that offer specialist fibromyalgia clinics, such as the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath, which patients can access on referral from the clinician responsible for their care.