Working Conditions

This section on the website collates some of this issues which are frequently brought up by Doctors in Training on a regular basis. This can include anything from parking to water at work, to IT issues and student supervision.


Water at work

Water Bottles

Key points in response to frequently asked questions about water bottles/access to drinking water:

  • There is no ‘IPC ban’ on drinking or having a water bottle in the workplace – during COVID, a precautionary approach was adopted to minimise the risk of staff exposure associated with mask removal and eating/drinking in the workplace

  • Common sense should be applied and basic hygiene measures should be followed by all staff

  • During a suspected or confirmed outbreak of infection, the IPCT may advise that staff do not keep bottles or consume any food or drink in the clinical area (e.g. the nurses station) until the outbreak is over

  • Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand rub before drinking

  • Individual drinks bottles should be clean, in good condition and preferably with a covered lid should be used

  • The use of open bottles/cups and shared jugs of water or juice in clinical areas should be avoided – these may be associated with adventitious contamination and ingestion of organisms which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea

  • Where possible - store drinks bottles in non clinical areas e.g. staff rest room, office, Dr’s room or pantry

  • Drinking water is available in pantry kitchens or staff rooms. Drinking water should only be taken from a cold water (non mixer) tap

  • Where ice is provided for patient consumption in wards or departments, staff can use this to cool drinks provided good hygiene/procedures are followed

  • Ice provided for therapy/treatment must not be consumed by patients or staff


Losing email addresses

Trainees now have a nationally held Microsoft office email accounts for online services (Your TURAS details are used as the info to populate each account) i.e. everyone should have their own email that allows them to access mail, teams, sharepoint etc.

Here are a few scenarios that may affect email access:

Going Out of Program - eg to work in NHS England for a year or abroad for a year. Once you are marked as OOP on TURAS, after 30 days the account is disabled, it remains disabled for 120 days then becomes descoped, then 30 days after this its gone. If the trainee is OOP for less than 14 months, what happens is though the email address/identity is gone the data would be available to be backed up on return back in to the health board. So you may change from to on returning, but your old emails should in theory be accessible.

Going on Mat Leave - in the new system this should no longer cause you to lose your current email account (which has been an issue in the past) but what has been suggested to safety net this is threefold. First, contact your local IT dept and inform them of the period you plan to be on leave. Second, let the DST know you will be going on leave also. Thirdly, continue to access your emails semi regularly - every couple of months. That way even if something does go wrong and your account has been disabled you should notice this long before it is descoped and eventually deleted.

Reaching the end of a training program with no next post - once marked as out of training the account will be disabled after 30 days, then after 120 days descoped, then 30 days after this deleted. If you enter back in to a training prog within 14 months looks like you could have your account reinstated via back up but I suspect if you were out of training longer than this this account would be gone. I would suggest manually saving any critically or clinically important emails prior to ending a training program.

A point worth noting. All these details are in flux and the set timings such as 14 months are currently not set in stone. I would suggest any trainee who is going out of program for any reason makes contact with their local directory services team to warn them in advance, and keep the relevant contact details so you can phone if you need to on leave. This team can have different names in different health boards - called DST in some, user provisions team in others and in some just an extension of e5050 healthdesk.

The moral of the story is : monitor your emails even when OOP; flag up any lock outs early; back up any clinically significant info to an alternative source and as always, don't accept the first no you might get for an answer!


Catering March 2023

Dear Colleagues,

We are committed to ensuring that staff catering facilities which meet your needs are available across our current sites. Crucially, however, these have to be financially viable.

The withdrawal of the Royal Voluntary Service facilities from many of our sites and the continued demand on our finances has made this area an increased priority. Over the coming months, the Facilities Team will undertake a full review of what catering options are provided and when, with the aim of modernising the current model and offering.

A number of immediate changes will be implemented over the coming weeks. While some of these may be disappointing to you, they are necessary to ensure that we can continue to offer these facilities on our sites. The immediate changes, noted below, have been discussed with staff side organisations.

• A 10% price increase - prices have been frozen on many items on sale within our catering facilities for a number of years, however wholesale costs during this time have risen sharply - on average food and non-alcoholic drink prices have risen by 16.5% in the 12 months to November 2022. As a result, we have had to make the difficult decision to increase prices by 10%. We recognise that this may be disappointing, however we have tried to keep the increase as low as possible to ensure that our catering facilities still represent value for money. The increased prices will be effective from Monday 3 April.

• A consolidation of the catering service at the RHCYP/DCN – this will mean that the coffee shop currently located on the ground floor will close. Coffees, sandwiches and paninis will continue to be on offer from the 4th floor dining room, alongside other menu items. This change will be implemented from Tuesday 11 April.

• A consolidation of the servery outlets on the top floor of St John’s Hospital. This change will be implemented from Monday 3 April.

• The development of a more customer orientated ‘grab and go’ menu range to suit modern demand.

Alongside these immediate changes, the Facilities Team continues to work closely with the sites that have been impacted directly by the withdrawal of the Royal Voluntary Service. This includes developing additional NHS run catering services at the Western General Hospital, two of which will open on the 4 April (Café in Anne Ferguson Building) and 10 April (Café in Edinburgh Cancer Centre), and working with social enterprises to provide alternative provisions for our community sites. The Facilities Team will continue to work closely with site leads on these developments, ensuring that staff are kept up to date on progress.

As we develop our future catering model, we will continue to work in partnership with staff side organisations and with staff directly. We will also continue to keep you informed on progress through our usual communications channels. For managers of staff who have limited access to digital communications, we would please ask that you make this information available to your teams, for example by printing a copy for staff areas.

Many thanks,

Jim Crombie (Deputy Chief Executive) and Morag Campbell (Director of Estates and Facilities)