VetLed HALT 2020 Campaign

The VetLed HALT 2020 campaign champions safe, efficient and effective veterinary care. HALT is an acronym that has been used in numerous contexts for decades. It serves as a simple tool that places the spotlight on some of the physical and mental elements commonly affecting wellbeing and performance:

H ungry and/or Thirsty

A nxious and/or Angry

L ate and/or Lonely

T ired

As part of our focus on enhancing performance in practice, we continue to promote our HALT campaign nationally. It is driven by our patient safety, human factors and strategic communications experts, with the aim of reinforcing the importance of physical and mental wellbeing within our profession. 

We believe that raising awareness of this issue has the potential to significantly impact the wellbeing of professionals in the veterinary industry, and as a consequence improve care - for the animals we treat, and also for our fellow veterinary professionals.

We know that working for long hours without taking breaks isn’t healthy - not for individuals, their colleagues or their patients. It doesn’t make anyone more productive either. The HALT 2020 campaign encourages everybody to focus on their wellbeing, recognise physical and emotional states, and take regular breaks. Through the HALT 2020 Campaign, we encourage practices to start planning ahead at the beginning of the shift for short breaks and prioritising taking those breaks when they come.  We have simplified this to the “Three Ps” – Plan, Prioritise and Pause. 

Whilst aspects within HALT might seem obvious, the reality of the human condition is that we don’t always do what we know we should. Often the instinctive need to achieve the current goal beats the logical intention to stay hydrated, to take a break or to take time to address sources of stress. Combine this with social pressure such as team members (especially leaders/managers) not taking their breaks, and it’s inevitable that ‘pushing on regardless’ then becomes the cultural norm.


Unsurprisingly, this is a common issue in healthcare; research from the Medical Protection Society into doctors under investigation, revealed that HALT were common prevailing issues. As such, our HALT 2020 campaign is aligned another currently being led by Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Playing a key role in this campaign is Dr Mike Farquhar, Consultant in Sleep Medicine at Guys & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust who points out that:


“Unless critically ill patients require your immediate attention, our patients are always better served by

clinicians who have had appropriate periods of rest during their shifts”

HALT is not only an acronym but also acts as a reminder to pause and check in with ourselves. Even a brief pause can help to recognise how we are feeling. As part of the campaign we will communicate simple steps on how to manage aspects within HALT but above all, we will advocate the importance of a culture in which Veterinary professionals feel ‘safe’ to take a break (see our blog on Workplace Psychological Safety). A break offers a crucial opportunity to identify aspects of wellbeing, however it requires commitment from the entire team to ensure breaks are taken fairly, without risk to patient safety.

Want to know a bit more? This guide might help...













Would you like to implement HALT in your practice? The VetLed HALT 2020 Campaign Support Pack is now available.

The HALT 2020 Campaign Support Pack includes:

- How to HALT – a general guide to HALT for all members of the practice team

- HALT 2020 poster for you to display in your practice

- HALT 2020 Start Guide – support for the HALT champion in your practice to effectively help your team to think and act on HALT needs!

- HALT 2020 presentation including notes to support you to launch HALT in your practice – idea for a team meeting or lunch and learn.


This HALT 2020 Campaign Support Pack is intended to provide you with what you need to promote HALT in a safe, applicable and effective way in your practice. Every practice is different so please ensure you fully consider how to make this campaign work for you in a safe and effective way. Before you launch the HALT 2020 campaign in your practice, we do ask the ‘important information’ section within the HALT 2020 Campaign Briefing Guide is read by the practice manager, lead vet or nurse, or equivalent position. 


If at any stage you would like any further advice or assistance, please get in touch.

To download your HALT 2020 Campaign Support Pack materials, please click on the links below


This campaign is a part of VetLed’s ongoing mission to support safe, efficient and effective veterinary care. If you have any questions about VetLed and our work then please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you!