- 2015 Health Care Service Group Conference
- 5 December 2014
Conference welcomes the Take Your Breaks Campaign run as part of the current pay campaign in England. For NHS staff to take their breaks, they need to have somewhere that they can eat in peace. Healthcare is a 24 hour service with staff who work throughout the day and night. Historically hospitals would have their own kitchens which would have produced hot food for staff throughout the night as well as for the dayshift and backshift. Cuts to catering services for patients have also led to cuts in catering facilities for staff.
Staff predominantly have to bring their own food into work, use microwaves which are used by many other staff and rarely cleaned. Alternatively there is the purchase of crisps and sweets or if you are lucky, a sandwich from a vending machine. There is no provision for staff to store the food that they have brought in safely as fridges on wards are for patient use only. Given the move towards long shifts, it is important that staff not only take their breaks but have the opportunity to have something more nutritious than a vending machine sandwich or a frozen or chilled ready meal heated up by a microwave.
Conference calls upon the Health Service Group Executive to campaign for hot, freshly prepared and nutritious food to be available to staff who are working nights, evenings and weekends.