Opinions are divided after NHS worker offers ‘just one tea bag’

An NHS trust has divided opinion this week after a worker allegedly received a single teabag as a thank you.

Eva O’Connor claimed her father, who is a Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust employee, received the particular gesture in a small cardboard envelope in the post.

She shared a video of her father opening the gift on TikTok, which accompanied the message: “A little treat to say thank you” alongside the NHS mark.

In the video, Eva added the text: “what my father received at work as a ‘reward'”, alongside sarcastic hashtags such as #teaisahumanright and #clapforcarers.

Social media users were less than impressed with the gesture, with many pointing to the continuing problem of low pay and chronic understaffing within the NHS workforce.

One person commented on the TikTok video: “The amount of money it cost to design and manufacture could have been used for a raise…Or at least just put a box of tea bags in the room Staff.”

Another noted: “Ah yes. A nice cup of tea to have on your break which you probably won’t get due to understaffing.

Other NHS workers used the video to share their own experiences with gifts from their employer, which included stories of hot chocolate packets, pens and cookies.

One person shared, “My work gave us all a free sample (a sheet) of those color catchers that you put in the washing machine. I didn’t even try to hide the free sample.

However, the NHS defended its actions, saying the teabag was just part of a gift basket sent as an “act of kindness”.

Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said in a statement to Good Manchester: “Of course, we are extremely grateful for the hard work of all of our staff who care for our communities, and we are always looking for new ways to show our appreciation and kindness to our teams.

“As an additional small but heartfelt thank you to our midwives and nurses for International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses Day in May, we sent each of them a certificate and a bag giveaway containing a number of items, including a branded tea bag, to entice them to take a break.

“We wanted to let them know how much we appreciate all the hard work they do and also to raise awareness of the important work our hospital charity does to support the wellbeing of our staff.

“It’s a shame that a small act of kindness, done with good intention as part of one of the many ways we say ‘thank you’, has been taken out of context in this way.”

It comes as NHS nurses prepare to vote on what could be their first-ever strike in a pay dispute.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said it would advise hundreds of thousands of its members to support industrial action in a ballot which will open in mid-September.

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