A SOMERSET couple who are both paramedics have spoken of their heartbreak at taking dying coronavirus patients to hospital without their loved ones.

Alison Moore and Tristram Brain are juggling their demanding jobs with also home schooling their five children.

Speaking in a BBC Radio Somerset series of audio diaries, Alison Moore tells how tough it is leaving families after they have made their “final farewell”.

She said: “When you have to convey a patient to hospital and you know that they are highly unlikely to come home, we have to witness that heart-breaking, final farewell with the family in the house or in the back of the ambulance, and then drive away leaving the family in bits.

“I’ve struggled with that massively and struggled with not being able to show any physical compassion.

“You can’t hug a relative when they’ve lost a loved one, and physical touch means so much at times like that, and that’s something that we just can’t do at the moment.”

Alison and Tristram, who also works for the South Western Ambulance Service, appear in the BBC Radio Somerset’s ‘Covid-19: Life on the Front Line’ real-life accounts from health workers.

“Nothing had prepared us physically or mentally to respond to a global pandemic,” Alison said.

“If I’m totally honest it felt overwhelming at first. How to deal with things, the different levels of PPE, the different emotions patients are feeling.

“But the new way of working has, surprisingly, very quickly become the norm.”

She added: "It’s times like this you realise what a family unit we (the crews) all are at work.

"We’ve come together so much. On those bad days they pull you back up again. There are days that are very, very hard.

Referring to the couple's children, Tristram said: "They do go to school occasionally because they are able to, but we try to keep that to an absolute minimum.

"It’s all about trying to keep them safe. We’ve got a fairly rigorous decontamination regime when we finish work and come home.

“It’s because coronavirus doesn’t discriminate.”

The series continues today (Thursday) and tomorrow.