Guy's and St Thomas' staff encouraged to take regular breaks in new HALT campaign

Friday 17 March 2017

Guy’s and St Thomas’ staff encouraged to take regular breaks in new campaign

A new campaign has been launched at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust 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.

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 2017. 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. 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.”

Dr Mike Farquhar, Consultant in Sleep Medicine at Evelina London, which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “Breaks for staff are not a luxury, especially when doing busy or intense night work. Regular rest is essential to ensure staff can provide safe, effective patient care to the best of their ability. The HALT campaign emphasises 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.”

Bernell Bussue, Regional Director at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “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.”

Last updated: March 2022

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