Within the Work Ready programme, the BDA is undertaking a series of case studies across the breadth of UK employers. Whilst it is widely accepted that good nutrition at work supports a workforce who are healthy enough to do their jobs well, as well as feel valued, supported and engaged, the healthcare workplace and in particular the Emergency Department (ED), has unique challenges related to complex shift patterns, pressurised break times and limited nutritional facilities. This often leads to excessive snacking on sugary foods and other poor eating behaviours, since a wholesome, healthy diet in this environment can be difficult to sustain.
HEE South London and the BDA have co-funded a nutritional needs assessment in an Emergency Department in a south London hospital. Once written up and discussed with the team, it is hoped that the learning and recommendations will be disseminated to be applied in other high pressure clinical environments.
A nutritional needs assessment was undertaken on 7th March, 2017. It included meeting with representatives from the ED management team, Occupational Health and Wellbeing, Catering and Facilities, Dietetics and a number of ED staff, including those from clinical, administration and receptionist roles.
In addition to the discussions held, a ‘walk round’ to view the facilities was taken. This included observing the ED staffroom and pantry areas, the restaurant and both cafes, as well as a number of vending machines. Progress against CQUIN targets was discussed, as was the site-wide staff health and wellbeing strategy, so that the Work Ready dietitian could complete the picture for the organisation and prepare a roadmap to improve the nutritional wellbeing of staff in the ED.