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Junior doctors ordered off wards during mealtimes

A trust has rearranged patients’ mealtimes to prevent them being interrupted by junior doctors as part of a drive to improve patient nutrition.

As part of its “nutrition mission” Basildon University Hospital Foundation Trust has also introduced red trays for patients who have been assessed as being likely to need extra help and “McDonald’s-style” tray liners.

All nurses are to receive additional training in nutrition and mealtimes must be supervised by a registered nurse. The approach has been highlighted by the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition as an example of good practice.

Director of nursing Diane Sarkar told Nursing Times lunchtime had been moved to coincide with when junior doctors had teaching sessions outside of the wards as they “could be the worst” for disrupting mealtimes.

She added: “The tray liners, a bit like those you find in McDonald’s, are prompts for the nurses and the patients and ask questions such as has the nurse recorded what you have eaten or do you need any extra help?”

The drive is part of the nursing and midwifery strategy which has been developed after the trust’s care was heavily criticised by the Care Quality Commission and the Nursing and Midwifery Council in 2009 and 2010.

However, after visiting the trust for the launch of the strategy NHS East of England chief nurse Ruth May said the trust had undergone “a complete reversal” in the past two years. She has asked the trust to pilot a new form of pressure ulcer documentation by the SHA

Readers' comments (3)

  • Director of nursing Diane Sarkar told Nursing Times lunchtime had been moved to coincide with when junior doctors had teaching sessions outside of the wards as they “could be the worst” for disrupting mealtimes.

    Why disrupt everyone else's routine, patients, nursing staff, kitchen and housekeeping staff by changing the mealtimes. Get the junior doctors to help (as part of their training and awareness of other's needs), then they can go to their lectures

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  • Exactly anon, why disrupt everything else? Doctors should be told to come when it is suitable for the ward staff and patients!

    I wish NT would sack whoever writes these headlines! They often bear no relation to the truth at all!

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  • I wonder if the practice I have observed of leaving full urinals on lockers next to the trays of food that is being served will end in other hospitals? I have seen this regularly in the recent past and it's revolting. If I were a patient, I wouldn't feel like eating the food after that....

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