Royal College calls for more to be done for staff wellbeing
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the lack of basic facilities available to Scotland’s healthcare workforce.
The ‘Rest and Food’ campaign has highlighted the very real need for a range of improvements to be made within hospitals and health care centres across Scotland to provide staff with access to hot food and a quiet environment for respite whilst on shift.
The opportunity to both rest and to eat nutritious food are crucial to aiding performance and wellbeing, yet many healthcare workers do not have access to the most basic of facilities while working strenuous shifts. Reports show that 65% of junior doctors work at least one shift each month without eating a meal.1
The campaign is designed to focus on improving overall staff morale, health and wellbeing and job satisfaction, through highlighting areas to enhance workplace facilities, which ultimately contribute to better outcomes for patients. It is backed up by a survey2 which revealed that NHS staff are 50% more likely to experience high levels of work-related stress compared to the general working population, with a third of doctors suffering from burnout.
Working closely with members to identify where simple introductions to facilities could make a positive difference, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow has launched a campaign to highlight how vitally important access to rest and food is at work.
Dr. Christine Goodall, a consultant oral surgeon based in Glasgow, said: “Access to even the most basic catering facilities at all times while we are working would be hugely beneficial. Something as simple as a hot meal can make a huge difference to your day. We tend to have to bring our own food in if we’re on the later shifts, but we’re not always able to heat it up.
“A comfortable communal space to take a breather during shifts would allow us to spend time with other members of the team. We are missing the human connection that eating and resting together brings; something we have all struggled with over the last year and a half. Ultimately, we all need rest and food to be safe and happy at work.”
The demand on medical professionals and hospital staff has been amplified over the past 18 months, and as patient numbers and the strain on hospitals continues to rise, an environment where workers have the space to recover is crucial.
The College is calling for a commitment to ensure facilities are available in hospitals and health care centres across Scotland and calling for the necessary improvements to be made to ensure the basic needs of staff are met, and that they can deliver quality care for themselves, as well as to patients.
Professor Jackie Taylor, president of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, said: “A healthy workforce is essential for quality patient care. When the workforce is exhausted, experiencing burnout, it impacts on everyone.
“We have launched ‘Rest and Food’ to aid the struggle of balancing personal wellbeing with the increasing demands of the medical profession. Simple implementations, such as ensuring rest rooms and hot and cold food are available for staff members can help combat fatigue and support the essential health and wellbeing of our incredible workforce.
“We encourage the medical community to get involved and highlight the benefits of rest and food and to show how, with these basic needs met, professionals can focus on providing care and attention to those who need it most.”
1. RCPL 2016
2. Kings Fund, Michael West