AN NHS trust has now said its staff will resuscitate patients amidst the coronavirus crisis.

The Chronicle put the question to Southern Health after a mental health trust in Durham advised workers against CPR during a medical emergency.

This is because equipment, such as gloves, long sleeved gowns, eye protection and masks, is not available to safely carry out the procedure.

At first Southern Health did not address the question, but a spokesman has since responded: "The safety of our patients and staff remain our highest priority.

"If any staff are providing face-to-care to a patient with COVID-19 symptoms, they will have the necessary equipment in order to carry out CPR, should this be required.

"Additional training is being delivered across the Trust to ensure safe and effective use of this equipment for all the relevant staff."

The first response from the trust came yesterday.

A spokeswoman had said: "We know that the availability of personal protective equipment is important for frontline NHS staff – both nationally and locally - whether they are working in GP surgeries, hospitals, or in the community.

“We are following the latest national clinical guidance on the use of personal protective equipment to ensure staff can carry out their duties with the minimum of risk. 

“The supply of equipment has been ramped up in recent days, and there has been an announcement by the government regarding the further strengthening of arrangements.”

When asked why the original question had not been answered, a spokesman replied: "Essentially it’s down to capacity – everyone here is working flat out and our priority has to be essential communications with our frontline workers. It’s taking longer to get lines out to the media as a result."

In Durham, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust admitted to telling staff not to commence the CPR procedure even if advised to by ambulance control or life-saving equipment.

They also said "not to administer rescue breaths, use a manual resuscitator or create an airway or intubate the patient under any circumstances, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic".