Understanding the experiences of CO survivors will help improve diagnosis and treatment

For immediate release – 31 January 2018

The Gas Safety Trust (GST) today (31 January 2018) announced that it is to provide funds to Liverpool John Moores University for an ongoing study into the experience of those who have been poisoned by carbon monoxide (CO) whether this be acute or chronic, low level exposure.

The evidence collected so far reveals a great need for this research, as participants report a devastating ‘fragmentation’ of their lives due to being poisoned. More than one participant has referred to the experience as being in ‘no man’s land’, as very little currently exists in the way of help and support.

This research will give the survivors of CO poisoning a way to express what has happened to them. This aligns with the focus on patient voice, as many Government/NHS documents emphasise the importance of listening to patients. 

Many of these people have never had the opportunity to share what happened to them; the opportunity has never arisen because no one has thought to ask those questions; they are the silent victims.

Chris Bielby, GST Chair said:

“The work being undertaken by Liverpool John Moore University will fill a critical gap in our understanding of carbon monoxide poisoning. A better understanding of the experiences of those who have been poisoned will help us to improve diagnosis, treatment and the way in which we deal with people. This is an important piece of work which will be keenly watched by policymakers, industry and healthcare professionals.”

Julie Connolly, Senior Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University said:

“I am delighted at the recognition that the Gas Safety Trust are giving to my research. In showing this progressive attitude, they are acknowledging the importance of listening to people’s experiences, which helps us gain a comprehensive perspective of the devastating nature of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is vital for all those who have been affected.”


Notes to editors

About Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is a gas formed during the incomplete combustion of any carbon-based or fossil fuel (e.g. gas, coal, oil, wood, charcoal etc.) which happens when there is insufficient oxygen caused by poor ventilation.

Department of Health (DH) statistics say that every year in England and Wales, approximately 30 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning, that 200 people are admitted to hospital, and around 4,000 people attend A&E, are treated and sent home.  However it is generally accepted that these figures underestimate the scale of the problem, due to the difficulties in diagnosis.

The fact that symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the symptoms of the common cold and flu provide challenges for medical professionals to diagnose and as such, it is often overlooked. Furthermore, current methods to confirm CO poisoning in the body require specialist equipment that is frequently used long after the patient has stopped being exposed to CO, making it much more difficult to determine if a person has been exposed since CO can be rapidly eliminated from the body.

About the Gas Safety Trust
The Gas Safety Trust, established in 2005 as a registered charitable body, has become the UK’s leading fuel safety charity with the key objectives of further improving fuel safety for the public and industry throughout the United Kingdom and reducing the incidents of death and serious injury from carbon monoxide exposure. The Gas Safety Trust is generously funded by the gift aided profits of CORGI Services Limited.

For further information, visit: www.gassafetytrust.org ; www.corgiservices.com

About Liverpool John Moores University
Liverpool John Moores University is one of the largest, most dynamic and forward-thinking universities in the UK, with a vibrant community of 25,000 students from over 100 countries world-wide, 2,500 staff and 250 degree courses. LJMU is celebrating its 25th anniversary of becoming a university throughout 2017/18 and has launched  a new five-year vision built around four key ‘pillars’ to deliver excellence in education; impactful research and scholarship; enhanced civic and global engagement; and an outstanding student experience.


For further information please contact:

Adrian McConnell                   
Trust Manager
Gas Safety Trust

T: 020 7706 5111
M: 07792 219649
E: adrian@gassafetytrust.org
W: www.gassafetytrust.org 
Follow us: @GasSafetyTrust

Visit GST’s CO Portal: www.coportal.org