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Francis response: No staff breaks during patient mealtimes

Shifts should be organised so that staff are not taking breaks at the same time as patients are being served meals, according to Hard Truths the government response to the Francis report.

This measure is necessary to ensure that staff are available at mealtimes to help patients eat and drink with an emphasis on the importance for older patients and people with dementia.

The government also announces grant funding to the Malnutrition Taskforce, led by Age UK, to run a pilot programme to test a framework to reduce malnutrition among older people in a range of health and care settings.

The multi-professional pilot will aim to improve the care of older people at risk of malnutrition, raise awareness to help prevent people becoming malnourished in the first place, and ensure malnutrition is identified and treated more effectively.

The government’s full response to the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust was published today.

In its response report – Hard Truths: the journey to putting patients first – the government has accepted 281 of the 290 recommendations made by the Francis report in February. 

Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.

Readers' comments (4)

  • How about ensuring that staff breaks are actually honoured? If those who frequently post here are to be believed, staff don't appear to have time to take breaks at all during the working day.

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  • It is commonplace for nurses to work without meal breaks due to short staffing. Whilst it makes sense for staff breaks not to be taken at patient mealtimes, staff also need to eat and drink at reasonable intervals during a shift.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Staff restaurants will need to be open later then I hope....
    12 hour shifts without a break are no fun.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • In these days of interprofessional collaboration, I assume that those who help at mealtimes won't just be nurses, but therapists too - who normally have the luxury of going to break altogether?

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