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Did England’s national home oxygen monitoring programme for COVID-19 work? Yes… and no
  1. Ellen J Weber
  1. Emergency Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ellen J Weber, Emergency Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 92521, USA;{at}

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The article by Beaney and colleagues just published in the EMJ evaluates the outcomes from a national programme of home oxygen monitoring instituted by NHS England during the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.1 This may sound familiar; we ran a paper by this same author group on this subject in our August 2022 issue.2 At first glance, you might think we accidentally reran the same paper. Both studies ask what appears to be the same research question: was there benefit? However, the studies are indeed quite different in what effect they are examining. The study just published looks at whether patients who enrolled in the monitoring programme had improved outcomes over those not enrolled. The previously published study assessed whether this national programme resulted in fewer hospitalisations and deaths in the country. In other words, what was the effect of the programme in reducing adverse outcomes from COVID in England? These are very different questions, and therefore we agreed with the authors on the need to present the findings as two separate papers. The bottom line is that, depending on how you look at it, the programme was and was not beneficial.

In essence, the current paper reads like a standard observational study, looking at the outcomes of patients who were and were not enrolled in the programme.1 As an observational study where patients were not randomised, it is important that the authors adjust …

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  • Handling editor Richard Body

  • Contributors EJW is the sole author of this work and takes responsibility for it as a whole.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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