A FORMER ambulance technician has raised concerns over a shortage of potentially life-saving medication used to treat severe lung conditions.

The Southend resident, 60, was forced to give up his career four years ago after being diagnosed with emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

He normally relies on inhalers to help him breath, but was prescribed a Salbutamol nebulizer after his condition became worse earlier this month and was admitted to hospital.

The nebulizer a small machine that turns liquid medicine to mist so it can be inhaled through a mask.

However, when he attempted to collect his medication he was given the full number of ampoules on his prescription and is now warning patients across south Essex about the shortage.

The Department for Health and Social Care confirmed to the Echo there is “disruption in the supply of Salbutamol nebuliser liquid” caused by a supplier experiencing a manufacturing issue.

The Southend patient, who asked not to be named, said: “They’re just not making any. I don’t know what the hold-up is. Nobody seems to be coming forwards with what the problem is but it’s affected the whole country and they are saying it’s pretty much global.

“It’s Salbutamol nebulizer solution. There’s no alternative if you had a severe attack.

“It’s roughly ten times the strength of salbutamol inhalers. It’s given for the worst conditions.”

The Department for Health and Social Care has insisted it is in communication with the NHS and urged concerned patients to contact their doctor.

The patient added: “They prescribed me a nebulizer and didn’t supply all of the ampoules to go with it. I chased it up and they said they couldn’t get any. After searching online they said there are no pharmacists that are holding them in Southend.

“Hospitals are running out and the ambulance service. There’s just nothing there. If they don’t start arriving in the next couple of weeks the only way to deal with it is to tell people to use the inhalers and do ten puffs and that should give you a similar effect but it’s not the same.”

The shortages are said to be due to an increase in respiratory illness and the NHS nationally is urging restraint in prescribing the drug.

According to reports, the shortage is not expected to ease until August.