MORE than £40,000 has been raised by the public to refurbish NHS break rooms after staff said they had “nowhere else to go”.

Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, of Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, hailed the project, saying the refurbishment 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 nationwide.

“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.”

The Argus: Staff at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton Staff at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton

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,” she added.

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.”

Speaking about NHS staff across the country, an HWF spokeswoman said: “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 Argus: Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton

The foundation 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 Scotland in 2011.

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 Suffolk 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,” NHS Million fundraising manager Firzana Khan said.

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,” she 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. This means the foundation will be able to make over 20 rooms for NHS staff.

To donate to the NHS staff room fundraiser, go to

Dr Maggie Davies, Chief Nurse, University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Royal Sussex County Hospital, said: "Over the last 20 months, we have been committed to supporting the refurbishment of staffing areas across all our hospitals.  

“These have been thanks to generous donations from not only external charities and foundations, but also through our Trust charities: Love Your Hospital and BSUH Charity, who have invested more than £250,000 in that time to help fund staff space projects.” 

“Our charities have helped upgrade furniture and kitchen facilities across all our hospital sites. They have also invested in planting and seating for outside communal staff areas so they can benefit from a change of scenery out in the fresh air.  

“We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us, including those who have supported our Covid-19 appeal and also to NHS Charities Together who provided funding during the pandemic, specifically to support staff at our hospitals.”