A new rota system that is being trialled in York Hospital has caused outrage among nurses.
Claims that the electronic system will make it impossible to organise childcare have been dismissed by health bosses, who warn that “some staff will need to be more flexible with their working patterns”.
But nursing unions have spoken out about the trial, which will last for four weeks on a number of wards, claiming that staff should have been consulted about the changes.
A spokesman for the Royal College of Nursing said: “The new rotas will affect frontline nurses, especially those with young families or carer responsibilities. Staff are suddenly faced with having to re-juggle their busy working lives and family commitments with little or no notice.
“This is unreasonable and staff are rightly upset. The RCN will be contacting the trust urgently.”
One member of nursing staff said: “The changes take effect on 16 October. No consultation has taken place with the nurses or unions about these changes.
“Before this, most nurses chose shifts that fitted their child care arrangements, for example nights only or weekends only. Wards allowed a few changes per month to nurses.
“This e-shift system does away with all this, thereby causing a lot of hassle for nurses and their respective nursery or childminders.”
Following a meeting between union representatives and York Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust, a joint statement was issued saying the new system was used in a majority of trusts because it “enables more efficient rostering of staff as well as less nursing time spent on the creation of rotas”.
The trust said: “The system is being rolled out and to date over 1,300 staff in the trust have their rotas created using the e-rostering system. The trust is undertaking a four-week review with three wards which have been using e-rostering for some time.”