Nurses need to keep hydrated on the hottest day of the year so far, according to the Royal College of Nurses (RCN).
The RCN advised nursing staff to take regular breaks and drink six to eight glasses of water a day. They acknowledged that staffing levels can mean nurses will find this difficult.
Kim Sunley, senior employment relations advisor at the RCN, said: ‘Dehydration affects concentration, which triggers fatigue – essentially it is not just a wellbeing at work issue but an issue of safety.
‘It is the duty of employers to ensure staff have access to drinking water, the time to rehydrate and go to the toilet, and that the working environment is adequately ventilated. After all, it’s not only in the interest of nursing staff but that of patients.’
The soaring temperatures also prompted NHS England to administer a heat-health watch alert at level three, and advise that hot weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients.
According to a study at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust 36% of nurses and doctors were found to be dehydrated before their shift started, with the figure rising to 45% at the end of shifts.
Short-term memory ability was significantly impaired in the dehydrated participants tested, highlighting the importance of drinking plenty of water.