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The waiting game

Refresher respiratory support training for all NHS clinical staff in next two weeks

All NHS clinical and patient-facing staff are to receive refresher training in looking after patients with respiratory needs in the next fortnight.

NHS England told health service managers yesterday the training was required to prepare for ‘large numbers’ of patients requiring respiratory support due to coronavirus.

In a letter signed by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, it stressed that emerging data on Covid-19 patients suggested a significant proportion who are hospitalised require respiratory support - particularly mechanical ventilation and, to a lesser extent, non-invasive ventilation.

The letter said: ‘A far wider range of staff than usual will be involved in directly supporting patients with respiratory needs.

‘Refresher training for all clinical and patient-facing staff must therefore be provided within the next fortnight.’

It added that a cross-specialty clinical group, supported by the Royal Colleges, is producing guidance based on experiences from the UK and abroad.

The letter added: ‘This will include: a short education package for the entire NHS workforce; a service guide, including for anaesthetics and critical care; Covid-19 clinical management guides in collaboration with NICE.’

Meanwhile, the letter noted work was underway nationally to ensure a ‘step change’ in oxygen supply and distribution to hospitals.

NHS England is asking all trusts to immediately enhance their oxygen piping, pumping and bedside availability.

The letter said: ‘The goal is to have as many beds, critical care bays, theatre and recovery areas able to administer oxygen as possible.’

NHS England also added that national procurement for assisted respiratory support capacity - particularly mechanical ventilation - is ‘well under way in conjunction with the Department of Health and Social Care’.

As previously reported, NHS England reiterated the Government’s work with manufacturing companies, which will switch to producing ventilators.

Earlier this week, health secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS intended to bring back retired doctors - as well as ask doctors to temporarily switch specialty - to be retrained to operate ventilators.

Readers' comments (14)

  • Where and when?

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  • Really
    As simple as this
    And to think all those years of training ITU drs have done till now
    Get real Simon

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  • I think they mean for the doctors who have now been released from Casualty, Holby City & Doctors, now the bbc has stopped filming. What about Dr Clegg from EastEnders, hope he’s going to be on the front line as well as they’ve all stopped filming?

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  • LastManStanding - I'm worried that you might be giving them ideas. By this time next week we will all have been sent a 2 minute ventilation training video - and be expected to turn our waiting rooms in to mini-ITUs.

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  • Thank the Lord for this! I keep forgetting whether to breathe in or out first. I would laugh, but I think that has something to do with the lung things.

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  • Some one in Whitehall needs to buy some toilet paper there seems to be bad outbreak of verbal bullshit.

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  • Earlier posters have said it but where exactly is the space for this as assuming it will be at same time as we would be sorting all the other pressing things needing F2F contact???

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  • 1. Oxygen goes in and out.
    2. Fluids go round and round.
    3. If they buck around, squirt more of the white stuff in.
    4. Don’t let the cleaner unplug the machine so they can buff the floor.


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  • Doom mungering helps no one.
    I look forward to The training so that I am better aware of what my patients might get.
    Old mechanical ventilators are not that complex and I have a sneaking suspicion that we will eventually have many more. Yes we will have difficult weeks ahead and yes we will have difficult months ahead. Yes there are pinch points. But it is becoming increasingly clear where these are.This is a time for manufacturing, science, joint endeavour and I for one think that the great British public will actually step up to the mark. I hope those amongst you who pedal negativity will appreciate that at times like this it your words potentially causes a lot of harm and adds little.
    It is certainly bad for morale.

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