At our staff meeting last month, our ward manager warned us that Trust management are taking a zero tolerance approach to the heinous crime of... eating leftover patient food.
We were informed that two members of nursing staff have already been sacked and we could expect management spies to jump out from the shadows at any moment.
No-one in the NHS is particularly proud of eating leftover patient food. However, on some shifts it is the only way to grab a quick bite to eat.
As a recent survey in the Nursing Times shows, 95% of nurses regularly work in excess of their contracted hours with 22% doing so on every shift. Just under 40% said they work through their meal time at least three times a week and only 32% are able to get a drink of water when they need it.
This recent crackdown must be seen in light of the RCN’s investigation that revealed Trusts are planning to cut nursing staff by 12% by 2015. Management are looking for ways to sack staff on trumped up charges so they can limit the number of costly redundancy payouts.
In my Trust, catching a few overworked, undernourished nurses scoffing down a plate of overcooked hospital gruel is seen as a legitimate way to make “efficiency savings”.