A new campaign has been launched at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust today to encourage staff to take frequent breaks and improve their health and wellbeing.
The HALT (Hungry, Angry, Late, Tired) campaign will make staff aware that taking enough breaks can also help them to provide the highest standard of patient care, by putting them in a position to make the best decisions for patients.
“Taking a break gives our staff the chance to take a breather and to replenish energy levels”
Staff throughout the trust will be asked to plan their own breaks during the work day, and managers and team leaders will be advised to lead by example in order to create a “take a break” culture.
The launch of the HALT campaign coincides with World Sleep Day on Friday 17 March. During the day staff across the trust will receive information, attend workshops and listen to presentations about the importance of taking regular breaks.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ also aim to positively support staff across the trust who work night shifts, and teaching on the topic of sleep in this context is now integrated into mandatory junior doctor induction in Evelina London, and for every new foundation programme doctor starting work in the Trust.
Dame Eileen Sills, chief nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “The HALT campaign reiterates our commitment to ensuring that all staff take their breaks, and that we create a ‘take a break’ culture at our Trust.
“Taking a break gives our staff the chance to take a breather and to replenish energy levels by eating or having a drink, physically resting or taking a mental break,” she said.
Major trust encourages nurse to take regular breaks
“As well as being important for staff health and wellbeing, taking breaks is also important for patients as it allows staff to make the best possible decisions for our patients,” she added.
Dr Mike Farquhar, consultant in Sleep Medicine at Evelina London, which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’, said breaks for staff were “not a luxury”, especially when doing busy or intense night work.
“The HALT campaign emphasizes that, unless critically ill patients require your immediate attention, our patients are always better served by clinicians who have had appropriate periods of rest during their shifts,” he said.
Bernell Bussue, regional director at Royal College of Nursing in London, added: “The RCN warmly welcomes this campaign. It is vitally important that nurses working shifts are able to take breaks to prevent fatigue and the negative impacts this can have on both patient safety and their own health and wellbeing.”