A MENTAL health trust which previously told its staff not to administer CPR on its patients because of a lack of safety equipment has confirmed further guidance has been issued.

The Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust said necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) had now been delivered across its hospitals - just days after staff raised concerns.

The Northern Echo first revealed that staff at West Park Mental Health Hospital in Darlington had been told not to administer CPR as PPE was "not available" within the trust.

A nurse, who did not want to be identified, said the new guidance had put patients at risk of "irreversible brain damage" and even death at West Park.

At time she said: "We cannot resuscitate patients as we do not have the correct PPE.

“If somebody is to self-harm or has a medical emergency, without PPE, it is going to be nigh on impossible to respond to.

“It goes against everything I believe in, we have patients who might arrest for a number of reasons – we are trained in basic life support and are not going to be able to do it.”

But in an update, Dr Ahmad Khouja, Medical Director at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said:

Dr Ahmad Khouja, Medical Director at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are committed to doing everything we can to protect the patients in our care and our staff.

"Fortunately cardiac and respiratory arrests are a rare event in mental health hospitals.

"Our staff are trained in how to respond effectively when performing resuscitation on patients whilst waiting for an ambulance to arrive - and will continue to do this.

"However, there are certain resuscitation techniques where specific PPE is currently required.

"We follow national guidance on this, which as you can appreciate continues to be updated in response to the COVID-19 situation, and as the country learns more about the pandemic.

"The Trust has received delivery of all of the necessary PPE including FFP3 face masks and we are beginning the process of fit-testing individual staff as this is highly specialist equipment.

“We are hugely thankful to all of our staff for all of their hard work during these unprecedented times and appreciate everything they are doing to care for our patients.”