Over £40,000 raised for NHS break rooms after staff had ‘nowhere else to go’

·3-min read

More than £40,000 has been raised by the public to refurbish NHS break rooms after staff said they had “nowhere else to go” and “no-one to talk to”.

Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden of Royal Sussex County Hospital hailed a crowdfunder for the project, saying the refurbishment of their NHS staff room has “made a world of difference”.

The Healthcare Workers’ Foundation (HWF) partnered with NHS Million, a non-profit platform designed to support and boost the morale of NHS staff, to launch an appeal to refurbish 20 rooms.

“One day, I came across a brand new doctor crying in a cupboard at another hospital I worked in. They had nowhere else to go, no-one to talk to,” Dr Batt-Rawden said.

“The HWF found out and offered a grant to make a new on-call room and staff room at a future hospital.”

Dr Batt-Rawden praised the work done on a room at Royal Sussex County Hospital.

“(We now have a space) where we can have a quick coffee, where we can sit with our colleagues and friends and just talk. It has made a world of difference to us.”

Co-founder of NHS Million Dr Katie Rogerson said: “We’ve all clapped for NHS workers, now it’s time to thank them properly by giving them the facilities they need.”

The HWF added: “Staff continue to work under incredible strain, enduring 13 to 72-hour shifts often without access to staff rooms, a place to eat, sleep.”

The foundation’s fundraising manager said the deaths of doctors Lauren Connelly and Ronak Patel highlight the need for staff to be able to rest.

Dr Connelly was killed in a car accident as she drove home after a night shift in 2011, and an inquest into the death of Dr Patel in 2016 heard he had been singing on a phone call to his wife in a bid to stay awake while on his drive home in 2015.

“Lauren Connelly was a 23-year-old junior doctor who was killed in a car crash and (Ronak) Patel ploughed into a lorry. It’s really key to have that space where they can go and have a 20-minute power break and they’re not trying to drive home tired,” Firzana Khan told the PA news agency.

Royal Sussex County Hospital sign, where Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden works (PA)
Royal Sussex County Hospital (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Ms Khan said healthcare workers need a space to “take stock and rest”.

“(They have) shown such great comradery, coming together and looking after loved ones… to be able to take stock and rest is so key,” the 38-year-old said.

“Simple things like a kettle, coffee machine… water filters is a big one, and storage spaces where people can actually store their things.

“Plants that will help just make the room look a little bit funky.”

Ms Khan added that some workers had been “buying microwaves themselves” to use in staff rooms.

The fundraiser was launched at the end of September and had hit £24,000 by October 18.

After adjusting the target, more than £41,000 has been raised, which means the foundation will be able to make over 20 rooms for NHS staff.

PA contacted the Department of Health for comment on the standards of NHS staff rooms but it had not responded at the time of publication.

To donate to the NHS staff room fundraiser, go to crowdfunder.co.uk/refurbish-staff-rooms-for-healthcare-workers

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