NHS staff told not to tweet about ‘political issues’ like lack of PPE

PUBLISHED: 22:18 18 April 2020 | UPDATED: 22:25 18 April 2020

An NHS worker wearing PPE as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

An NHS worker wearing PPE as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Workers at an NHS trust have been told not to tweet about coronavirus matters including the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing.

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Staff at the mental health trust for Norfolk and Suffolk were issued with guidance for recommended use of social media on Friday evening urged them to avoid commenting on the topics because they are “political issues”.

The East Anglian Daily Times reports that staff at the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust have received guidance titled “Covid-19 suggested subjects for tweets”, with topics “to avoid” on social media.

One of the areas to avoid is “commenting on political issues, such as PPE, testing and exit strategies.”

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Bosses instead recommend staff “do post tweets” praising staff for their hard work, volunteering to move departments, working over the weekend and keeping people safe.

Campaigners raised the matter on social media, claiming it was a form “of “gagging”. They said the move means “genuine front line ‘heroes’ cannot say what they really think”.

“PPE, Covid-19 testing and an exit strategy from the pandemic are vital clinical matters, not ‘political’ subjects for suppression to save the government from embarrassment,” said a spokesman for the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

NSFT’s chief nurse Diane Hull did not directly comment on the matter, but told the local newspaper: “Our staff have been absolutely amazing throughout these incredibly testing times, and I want to take this opportunity to thank them.

“Our service users, their carers and our staff are our number one priority and I have encouraged staff to raise directly with me any concerns they may have about PPE or their own or service users’ safety.

“Testing for members of staff is available which means those that test negative for the virus are able to continue providing excellent care to our service users.”

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