Nurses at Barts Hospital in London have been told they cannot use milk provided by their trust to make themselves a cup of tea or coffee, as part of cost-cutting measures.
Frontline staff at Barts and the London Trust have been told not to use the trust-bought milk, which will be reserved exclusively for patients, and instead must buy their own.
One charge nurse, who did not want to be named, described the money-saving measures as “petty and demoralising”.
The nurse said the milk ban had been introduced via word of mouth from superiors, rather than through an official announcement. He said. “I don’t think they’ve got the bottle to send round a trust-wide letter about it.”
The nurse said the move was hugely resented by staff, who rarely took tea-breaks and were working extra hard as a result of the financial pressures on the NHS.
“I would imagine the chief executive doesn’t have to bring his own milk in if he wants a cup of tea,” he said. “I’m old enough to remember Margaret Thatcher taking milk away from primary school children, and this has got the same vicious ring about it.”
A spokesman for the trust, which announced earlier this month it was to cut 250 nursing posts, said it had to use all its resources “in the most cost-effective way”.
He said: “A recent review of non-patient expenditure identified the provision of free milk to a minority of staff as an area where savings could be made. In line with the majority of NHS trusts, all our staff now buy their own milk.”