Nurses bite back at Leicester drinks ban


Nurses have reacted angrily to a ban on hospital staff drinking in Leicester’s three hospitals.

All employees have been banned from drinking in clinic reception areas at Leicester General Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield General Hospital after bosses complained it might make staff look as though they ‘are not working as hard as they might be’.

However, one staff nurse at the nearby Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham who wished not to be named said: “I think it is ridiculous. We [as nurses] are constantly told throughout our training to encourage oral intake [of fluids] for our patients.

“Yet we are being told we can’t drink in front of patients. There simply isn’t enough time in our breaks to drink the required amount to stay hydrated throughout our shifts.”

The ban was leaked to the media after an email was sent by Michelle Scowen, matron for clinical support and imaging at Leicester’s hospitals, announcing the change.

In the email, she wrote: “Following a number of complaints by staff and patients it will no longer be permitted for staff to have drinks in the reception areas of the clinics in the central outpatients’ departments at UHL (University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust).

“Clearly this activity has given the wrong impression to staff and the public that clinic staff are not working as hard as they might be.”

But despite the opposition to the ban, there are some nurses who see it as a positive step.

Jordan Olner, who studies Child Nursing at nearby De Montfort University and who has completed a number of shifts in Leicester hospitals, said: “I understand the logic behind the ban as it can look unprofessional if staff are sat around drinking tea and coffee.

“In my experience drinks are only allowed in the staff room anyway as it is against health and safety to have hot drinks anywhere else.

“But I do think staff should be able to have a bottle of water with them to keep hydrated when they get a spare minute as shifts often get busy and it’s obviously important for staff to look after their own health as well as their patients’. I am sure patients would understand the importance of this.”

Jonathan Whitney

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