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4th February 2019 - Calling Time On The Dive

After completing over 10,000 dives in the chamber in support of divers, dry divers, course attendees and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy patients it is with a great sadness we announce that London Diving Chamber is ceasing service due to NHS budget cut backs and constraints on 31st March 2019.

The whole team wish to thank everyone for their support over the last fifteen years including our patients, students, dive medicals, divers, working partners and friends.

This unique facility is run by a team of dedicated people who have been on hand every day in case of a dive emergency and it is a great shame to lose this service but we be running until the end of March.

Midlands Diving Chamber will continue to run the full service from dive medicals to emergency treatment, their emergency DCI advice line operates the same emergency number: ‭+44 7931 472602‬

Keep your Dive Emergency Assistance Plans and Risk Assessments up to date by finding the location of your nearest chamber and updating your records.

Stay tuned for more information.

Dr Oliver Firth
Comments on this post:

It is with great sadness that I read the news that the LDC is closing at the end of March, With the growing popularity of the sport is without doubt a short sighted and expensive decision that has been made by the NHS in error to close. I have been fortunate to use your medical services in the past and may I extend my thanks and best wishes to whole team for your professionalism and quality services you have delivered and I wish you all well for the future.

Ian McCarthney

What a great shame that LDC has had to close. A huge thanks to the staff and especially Dr. Firth for all your help ,advice and of course my 'Fit To Dive' certificates.

Wishing all the very best for the future

Michael j Kent

So sorry to hear the news that you are being closed as a result of NHS budget cuts. You have a great team and we were all so impressed by your professionalism and the super facilities during our dry dive last month. Hope that this short-sighted decision can be re-considered and that you are all able to continue to provide the great support to the diving community and others in need.

Howard Cook (Richmond Sub Aqua Club)

Howard Cook


London Diving Chamber Proudly Presents the British Hyperbaric Association Annual Scientific Meeting in Central London

This historic annual event is coming to London this November.

We invite you to join us for two days of rich content, illuminating diving science and hyperbaric medicine. There is also the opportunity to attend a champagne reception and three-course banquet on the evening of the first day.

Join other Doctors and divers in your continued professional development by learning about the latest technologies and research, networking with like-minded thought leaders and exchanging ideas. The meeting will feature talks by leading experts such as Paul Rose, Dr Shai Effrati and Dr Peter Buzzacott to name but a few.

The 2018 BHA Annual Scientific Meeting is taking place just a stone’s throw from Regent’s Park at the centrally located Danubius Hotel Meeting Space on Thursday 8th & Friday 9th November 2018.

This is a unique opportunity and tickets are limited so please purchase in advance at: Click here to be taken to the ticket selling website.


Thursday 8th November – Diving Medicine

Time Presentation Speaker

Session 1: Diving Safety

0900 - 0910 Welcome and opening remarks Dr Oliver Firth

0910 - 0945 Frontiers of decompression research Dr Peter Buzzacott

0945 – 1015 Aerobic capacity testing in divers Dr Nico Schellart

1015 - 1045 In chamber ALS protocols Dr Clair Ashford / Dr Ben Morgan

1045 – 1100 Q&A / Panel discussion

1100 - 1115 Coffee / tea break

Session 2: Diving Injuries

1115 - 1145 “Even if all the experts agree, they may well be mistaken” Dr Martin Sayer

1145 - 1215 Bibby Topaz incident, 2012 Chris Lemons

1215 - 1245 Review of 30 Years of DAN Diving Injury Surveillance Dr Peter Buzzacott

1245 – 1300 Q&A / Panel discussion

1300 - 1345 Lunch

Session 3: Diving In The Field

1345 - 1415 Chuuk Deptherapy trip Josh Boggi / Dr Oliver Firth

1415 - 1445 Expedition updates – National Geographic Paul Rose

1445 - 1515 PFO update Dr Mark Turner

1515 – 1530 Q&A / Panel discussion

1530 – 1545 Coffee / tea break

1545 – 1900 BHA Annual General Meeting

1930 – late Conference Dinner

Friday 9th November – Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Time Presentation Speaker

Session 4: New Frontiers for Hyperbaric Oxygen

0900 - 0945 HBOT and TBI Dr Peter Radermacher

0945 - 1030 HBOT and TBI Dr Shai Efrati

1030 - 1045 Q&A / Panel discussion

1045 - 1100 Coffee / tea break

Session 5: Clinical Hyperbaric Oxygen

1100 – 1130 Wound care case study Dr Clair Ashford / Ali Bishop

1130 - 1200 HBOT and regional pain medicine Dr Shai Efrati

1200 – 1230 DAHANCA 21 update Dr Lone Forner

1230 – 1245 Q&A / Panel discussion

1245 - 1330 Lunch

Session 6: Hyperbaric Oxygen Research

1330 - 1415 Hypoxia research Dr Dan Martin

1415 - 1530 “How the truth was amputated” – serious problems with Toronto HBOT for DFU study (Fedorko trial) Dr Ron Linden

1530 – 1630 HBOT Research discussion Gary Smerdon

1630 - 1700 Closing Remarks Dr Oliver Firth, Dr Michael Gonevski

Dr Oliver Firth

3rd October 2018 - Dr Peter Radermacher

Joining us from Germany LDC is excited to welcome to the conference Dr Peter Radermacher to talk about HBOT in Traumatic Brain Injury.

The presentation will discuss the “pro” and “con” of both normobaric (NBOT: 80-100 % inspired O2) and hyperbaric hyperoxia (HBOT) after traumatic brain injury (TBI), i.e. the possible “dose-dependency” of the hyperoxia-effects under these conditions, based on the vasomotor, metabolic, and (anti-)inflammatory properties of N- and HBOT. Finally, available clinical outcome data will be highlighted.

Conclusions: 1) both N-T and HBOT reduce ICP while maintaining tissue O2 availability, however, with a more pronounced and sustained effect of HBOT; 2) HBOT may improve brain mitochondrial integrity and function, thereby attenuating ROS/RNS formation 3) the role of NBOT after TBI is highly controversial; 4) the existing clinical suggest a potential beneficial effect of HBOT on outcome after TBI; 5) a clinical trial should start recruitment soon.

Click here to buy your tickets and find out more information.


1977 – 1984 Medical School: Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf (Germany); Université de Marseille (France)

1984 – 1991 Residency in Düsseldorf and Henri-Mondor-Hospital, Créteil (France)

1991 – 1992 Diving Medical Officer, Federal German Navy, Kiel

1994 – 2014 Professor of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University Medical School, Ulm (Germany)

2002 Associate Professor, Laboratory of Fundamental and Applied Bioenergetics, Joseph Fourier University, Grenoble (France)

2007 Dr. honoris causa, Medical Faculty, University, Angers, France

2012 Offer Director of Investigational ICU, Department of Anesthesia, UTMB, Galveston, TX; declined

since 2014 Chair Institute of Anesthesiological Pathophysiology and Process Engineering, University Medical School, Ulm

Dr Oliver Firth

3rd October 2018 - Dr Peter Buzzacott

Dr Peter Buzzacott is a Senior Research Fellow at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia, and former Director of Injury Monitoring and Prevention at theDivers Alert Network (DAN). Dr Buzzacott is flying in from Perth to give three presentations on 8th November 2018 at the British Hyperbaric Association Annual Scientific Meeting in Central London hosted by LDC and will be attending the whole event and banquet dinner.

Click here to buy your tickets and find out more infomation.

He has had more than 50 diving and/or hyperbaric research papers published, given 60 peer-reviewed scientific conference presentations and authored a dozen book chapters and keynote presentations primarily describing diving injuries. Dr Buzzacott is the current editor of the DAN Annual Diving Report, now in its 31st year of injury surveillance and indexed on PubMed. Outside of research, he is a very active cave diver and technical diver (including hypoxic trimix, and closed circuit).

Frontiers of Decompression Research

Recent years have seen an explosion of research into decompression sickness. Studies range from the effects bubbles have on the lining of our blood vessels, to foods that affect our susceptibility to the bends, to how divers might ameliorate the risk of decompression sickness by "pre-dive conditioning" (for example, in saunas or on vibrating mats). Genetics research is also giving us new insights into adaptation for decompression stress. Where are the frontiers of decompression science today?

Diving Injury Surveillance, (past and present)

2018 marks the 30th anniversary of The DAN Annual Diving Report, making it older than many other well-known annual injury reports. This review describes what has noticeably changed over the past three decades and, while some research paints a worrying picture of where diving may be headed, a recent paper in the British journal Public Health suggests diving fatalities may not be as common today as seen in previous years.

Dr Oliver Firth

3rd October 2018 - Professor Shai Efrati

Professor Shai Efrati, MD is joining us on 8th and 9th November 2018 at the British Hyperbaric Association Annual Scientific Meeting in Central London hosted by LDC. Click here to buy tickets and find out more information.

Director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research, Assaf-Harofeh Medical Center, Israel.

Director of Research & Development, Assaf-Harofeh Medical Center, Israel.

Professor at Sackler School of Medicine and the Sagol School of Neuroscience of Tel Aviv University.

Dr. Shai Efrati is a professor at Sackler School of Medicine and the Sagol School of Neuroscience of Tel Aviv University and the director of the Sagol center for hyperbaric medicine and research at Assaf-Harofeh Medical Center in Israel. The center, under Prof. Efrati management, has become one of the largest hyperbaric center worldwide, currently treating more than 200 patients per day. Prof. Efrati is also the director of Research & Development of Assaf-Harofeh Medical center, affiliated to Tel-Aviv University. Taking the two passions/positions together Dr. Efrati has initiated a research program focusing on the neuroplasticity (regeneration of damage brain tissue) by the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). In the first clinical studies it was demonstrated that HBOT can induce neuroplasticity in post stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury even years after the acute Insult. The important clinical results gained from the research program have led to fruitful ongoing cooperation including multidiscipline team focusing on the regenerative effects of hyperbaric oxygen in various types of brain injuries.

Dr Oliver Firth

3rd April 2018 - Summer Games in aid of Scuba Trust and Excellent Development for Water Relief
Summer Games

The 2018 Underwater Summer Games will kick off at 6pm on 14th July in the heart of London's West End. The event being hosted by Oyster Diving Oyster Diving will consist of lots of Olympic style scuba diving competitions including a 100m underwater sprint – no fins,100m sprint – with fins, 200m underwater sprint, 1500m underwater distance swim, Slowest breather – how long can you make a 3 ltr tank last, Underwater discus and Underwater javelin.

There will be 12 spaces available in each category and there is a £10 entry fee to participate. All of the profits raised will be split equally between the charities ‘Excellent Development’ the charity behind WaterRelief, and the ‘Scuba Trust’. Entrants are welcome to generate additional sponsorship for the charity of their choice.

WaterRelief by Excellent Development provides a solution that can accomplish many life-improving qualities in dryland areas including Africa. A few of the benefits include providing unlimited clean fresh drinking water to villages, growing crops for medicine and food, freeing up time to allow children to go to school, and creating a place where endangered species can graze and drink water. Just £10 (the entry fee to one tournament) is enough to give one-person FREE WATER FOR LIFE!

The Scuba Trust helps those with disabilities and their friends experience the joy and freedom of scuba diving. The aim of the Scuba Trust is to provide a level playing field by arranging training and obtaining funding to subsidise applicants who, due to disability, encounter difficulty in finding suitable instruction and who may face a greater outlay for training and recreational diving after certification. 

Both Aqua Lung and TUSA have already kindly donated prizes to the event for the winners of each challenge.

If you would like more information, to participate or volunteer in the 2018 Underwater Summer Games then please visit .

Dr Oliver Firth

19th January 2018 - SAVE THE CHAMBER, SEND HELP


NHS England's public consultations for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) opened recently - see and below for the specific policy on decompression illness:

They include a proposal to reduce the number of current chamber facilities from 10 to 8, with the closure of one London chamber and one in the South. The link to this consultation is here:

This proposal has many possibly detrimental ramifications, including:

increasing transport times for injured divers to an appropriate chamber, conceivably worsening their outcomes

a reduction in national capacity to treat multiple simultaneous incidents

deskilling of highly trained chamber staff, with implications for the quality of care they are able to provide

the loss of services such as medicals, training courses, dry dives, email and telephone advice

a reduction in the provision of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for non-diving conditions eg. diabetic foot ulcers, soft tissue radiation damage, carbon monoxide poisoning


If you have any feelings to express about the future of HBOT provision in England, then now is the time to make your opinions known. The consultation closes on February 14th, but please make any contributions as soon as you can, by going to this link:

Please also forward this on to anyone whom you think might also wish to have a say. Use any available means including social media, newsletters, forums, word of mouth and please keep the pressure up (pun intended). Thank you.

Kind regards

Dr Oliver Firth MB BS BSc MRCGP

Hyperbaric Physician

Medical Director

Dr Oliver Firth

4th January 2018 - Question: What is the true cost of your dive medical?

Answer: 32 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months, 150 hours community service and then the small matter of £12,000 in costs.

Commercial Diver Daniel Tennant of North Yorkshire found out the hard way after he falsified and produced an almost identical copy of a Fit To Dive Medical Certificate to validate a contract of work on a job in 2016. A sneaky change of the expiry date was the crime, they are valid for 12 months and your are required to renew the medical annually.

The article goes on to detail that the defendant was charged, pleading guilty to six breaches of Regulation 12 (1)(b) of the Diving at Work Regulations 1997 and one breach of Section 33 (1)(m) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

HSE are the national regulators for workplace health and safety; they keep us from dying while at work in this high risk industry.

"Daniel Tennant undertook diving work while using a falsified fitness to dive certificate. Divers should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action if they are in possession of or use a falsified fitness to dive certificate" said HSE HSE inspector Bill Elrick.

For more related news or information about how to stay safe at work visit the HSE:

Dr Oliver Firth

22nd September 2017 - Are You For Scuba?

The initial interest sparked at the thought of diving at midnight at NDAC.

Following a little bit of research what unfurled before our masks was truly remarkable, this was not about chasing an adrenaline high or reaching extremes but about divers who love diving.

James Neal and Neal Breeden are two incredible figures of recovery, Neal had a stroke in 2008 and still uses a wheel chair partly today, and James suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage.

James, although outwardly recovered from his injury, still suffers from fatigue. He struggles with the invisibility of his disability; "I suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage and whilst I might appear completely recovered on the outside, you can't and don't see what I have to deal with, or understand the problems I face, on a daily basis," he said.

To come back and gain enough fitness to carry on diving is an incredible testament to their dedication to diving. Watching the other members of Cheltenham Sub Aqua Club you can see that they have played a massive past in both divers' recovery. CSAC had a different vibe to most dive clubs, a truly supportive group it was a pleasure to have been welcomed by them.

The event was a 24 hour scuba dive that took place over 16/17th September 2017 at the very well known inland site called the National Dive and Activity Centre, in Chepstow to raise money for a brain injury charity called Headway Gloucestershire that helped both the lead divers get back to health. Headway is dedicated to providing help and support to people who have had brain injuries and also their families, carers and partners.

James and Neal led the way and were the first divers in the water to kick start the 24 hours. My faithful buddy and I jumped in at next to dive with Neal, and we enjoyed a wonderful dive being guided about the lake by Neal, which included a good tour of the underwater attractions and then it was back to the shot for 13:25 on the dot so the next divers could come in their support diver slot.

It was then upstairs to the classroom to meet our chamber nurse, Ian, who was giving a presentation on DCI. The talk was fantastic, as ever, and as I sat in the classroom I thought about the divers and how they were still going down by the waters edge, only four hours into their mission.

Our next call time was 11.30pm. This was it, midnight diving ahoy. I was excited although the long day was clearly catching up with everybody a little and I was feeling cold. Primary light charged, back ups were plied with fresh batteries and fears of the dark were put into the back of my mind; we were ready to go.

The dive marshals were ushering us into the water so we were not a minute late to meet the team on the shot line, you could see the lights of the dive team already in water approaching the line. Stepping off the pontoon was a great feeling into the dark emerald still water of the quarry but there was no fear as the surprise element of an unexpected sea creatures popping past had been taken away.

Another half an hour with Neal and then we were back to the shot to pick up James. It was a special dive, and half way though, I am not sure if it was the cold, lack of sleep, depth or dark but remarkably a small plastic scuba diver kicking his feet travelled past the view finder of my mask.

A cheeky Mungo then appeared to catch the small toy before it drifter into Davy Jones' locker and gave me a smile over the look of his rebreather loop.

To have Chepstow to ourselves at the stroke of midnight was quite something, the depths were there enticing us but we had to refrain from breaking the 25m depth limit set but the insurers.

Best bit? Spotting all the sleeping perch scattered around the attractions similar to small pickled fish blissfully unaware of the light sabre strength torches doing their best to disturb them. It was a special dive.

Sitting on our beds at 3.30am drinking black tea and eating vegan biscuits with Mungo and Ian talking about the dive was a nice feeling. Those lads were still out in the cold, making the machine work and putting everything into the running of the event. Quite incredible for divers to be ready on time!

The last dive of the day was just before midday. Spirits were high and everyone was smiling, the end was in under an hour. Press had gathered to mark the end of the wonderful success.

Thank you to all the people involved in the production and execution of this diver it was run with admirable military precision.

Thank you for having us everyone, but whoever suggested next year should be 48 hours...

Comments from James Neal and some of the crew:

James Neal: "I don't know where to begin... well, actually, that's not true. I know exactly where to begin.

And it's with a genuine heart felt thank you. I don't think I've ever been quite so taken aback by anything as I was by the support that you guys have given this event and in so doing, Neal and myself.

So much so in fact that upon surfacing at the end it was as much as I could do just to hold myself together. The upwelling of emotion was profound and unexpected. Deeply touched.

Thank you one and all.

The way we ran the 24 hour dive and the effort that you all put into it is testament to all of you guys and the club. It strikes at the very essence of what makes CSAC so very special. I know of no other club that has that quality. I think it's something that is genuinely unique to Cheltenham Sub Aqua Club and the type of people that our club attracts... nothing short of the very best, decent people with a sound moral compass that are always willing and prepared to put others before themselves. I applaud you all.

Thank you once again for putting your heart and soul into this event and thank you for supporting me and my errant ways.

Love you guys. Thank you.

Andy: "The emails went out. I opened the attachments for the dive schedule and dive marshal. It then became a reality and the excitement set in. It was only when I took the first shift of dive marshal it really set in. The reality of the event hit home. The orchestration of this was nuts. The planning to make it both safe and successful was huge. This I did not realise until now. The work behind the scenes to make sure all divers had enough surface interval and down time needs applauding. It was amazing to see the team pull together. From setting up on the Friday to the NDAC staff staying up all night to fill our tanks. We salute you all!

As for the diving bit, what a journey and what a lot of fun. Meeting someone on the shot at one o'clock in the morning and continuing your dive had a special and very unique feeling. At the grand finally, being in the water with that many divers all pulling together was another special experience. Which I doubt I'll see again for a long time, if ever.

Promotion of our club, awareness of headway and brain injury, huge amounts of money raised and new friends made. What more can you want from a weekend diving."

Jack G: "The 'force' was strong when professional divers and novices came together from around the UK to stand up for a very important charity. The event has shown that the team spirit and good-naturedness of the diving community is making a positive difference in the world. I think this brilliant event has uncovered the tip of the iceberg in terms of what divers can do for their communities, given a little encouragement and a visionary organiser like James Neal.

CSAC's 24 hour dive for Headway is a fantastic example that can be replicated in support of any important cause relevant to the diving community. The use of diving for health rehabilitation and the need to preserve ocean ecosystems are two such causes that spring to mind.

Why not give a 24-hour fundraising dive a go with your dive club? It might be the best thing you do all year!"

Dr Oliver Firth

25th July 2017 - On these grey summer days, it's easy to forget what is really happening while we sun ourselves lake side post dive in half on wetsuits.
Suncream or rain protection kind of weather.

"Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young." Those of a certain (somewhat advanced) age may remember Baz Luhrmann's epic global hit choon of yesteryear, "Everybody's free (to wear sunscreen)" (aka the Sunscreen Song, Class of '99). The lyrics are a salutary lesson intended to help people live a happier life and avoid common frustrations, and were lifted from a column in the Chicago Tribune written by the journalist Mary Schmich. She later explained that the initial inspiration for what advice to offer came from seeing a young woman sunbathing, and hoping that she was wearing sunscreen, unlike what she herself did at that age. She makes many good points.

Despite the recent traditional effort by the UK's clouds to dampen the dry summer months, we're still looking at high UV warnings most days; and so this is just a reminder to slip (on a shirt), slop (on the SPF 30+ sunscreen), slap (on a hat), and slide (on some sunglasses). Whilst basking in the sun may help warm you up and dry you off during a surface interval, your unprotected skin is at risk of accumulating DNA damage that could lead to skin cancers in later life. Towel off, seek the shade, and look after your skin. It's the only one you've got.

Dr Oliver Firth

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