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Crackdown on nurses' breaks

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Hospital chiefs in Shropshire are cracking down on nurses and other staff taking tea breaks during their shifts, it was revealed today. EXCLUSIVE By Simon Hardy Hospital chiefs in Shropshire are cracking down on nurses and other staff taking tea breaks during their shifts, it was revealed today. Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said workers at the Princess Royal and Royal Shrewsbury hospitals had never been entitled to paid breaks during the working day but some staff had been taking them anyway. However, the move to put the lid on paid breaks has sparked outrage among nurses. One angry nurse at the Princess Royal Hospital said the move was causing bitterness among staff. Read more in today's Shropshire Star

EXCLUSIVE By Simon Hardy

Hospital chiefs in Shropshire are cracking down on nurses and other staff taking tea breaks during their shifts, it was revealed today.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said workers at the Princess Royal and Royal Shrewsbury hospitals had never been entitled to paid breaks during the working day but some staff had been taking them anyway.

However, the move to put the lid on paid breaks has sparked outrage among nurses. One angry nurse at the Princess Royal Hospital said the move was causing bitterness among staff.

She claimed the crackdown came into effect this month and now nurses and other members of staff could no longer snatch a short break, mid-morning or mid-afternoon, without having to make the time up.

She added: "If a member of staff wishes a break they must start work 15 minutes earlier to get a 15-minute break. If they want two breaks per day they need to start work 30 minutes earlier each day."

She claimed the rule created bad working conditions for part-time nurses, such as working mums or lone parents who could not get into work earlier.

She added: "It is making full-time nurses wait until the 30-minute lunch break for some relief from ward stress. If a theatre nurse starts 15 minutes early can she walk out of theatre for a 15-minute break? Talk about chaos," she added.

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A spokesman for The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said it recently became apparent that some staff were receiving paid breaks they were not entitled to.

He said: "The standard hours of all full-time NHS staff covered by nationally agreed Agenda for Change terms and conditions is 37-and-a-half working hours per week," adding: "NHS staff have never been entitled to paid breaks during the working day."

He said that, wherever practical and safe, managers were instructed to enable staff to make a drink or take a comfort break while at work and to take their drink while continuing to work.

It comes as a report today revealed some hospital doctors are responsible for 400 patients at night in England and Wales.

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