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New rota system angers nurses


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.”

Read more

Patients ‘endangered by shift work’ 


Readers' comments (67)

  • It seems there needs to be a balance between the employers expectations of staff, and the work-life balance of the staff group affected by the change.

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  • This story breaks in the middle of National Work-Life Week...

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  • Would e-rota cover short notice sick leaves!!!!! Once again these office bound managers cant stop themselves.
    They need robots not nurses.

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  • The only poor aspect of this article, is the lack of sufficient consultation.

    As a Registered Nurse in Learning Disabilities, who manages a team of 8 support staff, managing the needs of the service and that of the team is a major issue.

    However, as with all people (nurses, care staff, other health care professionals and employees) we all chose to work in services that provide health and social care needs over a 24 hour period.

    As such, don't the needs of the people that we care for and support come first??? The dictating of hours that people are prepared to work is unacceptable.To many nurses complain of insufficient time to do paperwork i.e. rotas and are always complaining of poor working environments and lack of staff.

    This new rota system would surely provide regular and adequate staff provision throughout the working week, ensure fair amount of unsocial hours are shared amongst staff and would meet the needs of the ward.

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  • The current 'self rostering' system still widely in use in many wards and departments, seemed to discriminate against those without commitments. It always seemed to be the same nurses with no children that were made to work christmas and struggled to get any annual leave during school holidays. Roll out this e-rostering nationwide. Lets have some equality..

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  • I am glad that I have retired from nursing apart from doing the odd night as a bank nurse to help out.The duty rotas are night mere and you can't please everyone. Some nurses prefer to work either early,late or nights. The self rostering system is not a very good system especially if there is luck of communication between the staff and you will find the selfish ones who put themselves first without considering their colleagues. You have to work as a team communicate all the time.

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  • The eroster system is no different from my earlier years nursing, and many others i am sure, we accepted what the Sister gave us to work with no question, only asked for a day off it was an absolute emergency and swapped with our colleagues if we needed.
    This is just another example of people not accepting change.
    I actually think that there are a vast majority of people who have taken the term 'flexible working' to an extreme. if they stopped asking for requests that were not urgent and let the system run they would probably find that duty was done far enough in advance (giving the unsocial hours out fairly among staff and weekends off fairly too), that they would have plenty of time to arrange their child care or care of elderly parents.
    And as long as they hours worked in the work were still what you are contracted to their would be no problem with swapping shifts with a work mate.

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  • what has happened to Improving Working Lives (IWL), if it existed in the first place?

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  • This is the other reason I hate working in the UK and want to get out.

    Child care providers operate from 9-5 (or 8-6 if you are lucky) Monday through Friday. There is no such thing as child care that is available during ward Nurses' shifts in the UK.

    The hospital I worked in across the pond had 24/7 childcare for nurses including school transport and a sick children's section so that you didn't need to miss work if your kid had a little cold or something.

    My husband is on his final warning from work because everytime I work an early he has to go in late to take the kids to school and nursery. Everytime I am on a night shift he is late for work because he has to take the kids to school and nursery. Everytime I am on a late shift he has to leave work early to pick up kids.

    He uses all of his annual leave for this. His parents are dead, my parents are in america and we have no relatives nearby.

    If we left our autistic 9 year old home alone with our 3 year old for any length of time we would probably be arrested.

    Why can't the UK have decent child care coverage or at least pay RNs enough to be able to afford a Nanny like America and Canada?

    I cannot wait to get the hell out of here.

    And by the way, despite having kids, I always work christmas and BANK HOLIDAYS and I am happy to do so. At least that my husband is always off on national holidays and can look after the kids.

    I would apply for a job that doesn't involve shift work BUT THERE AREN'T ANY for Nurses.

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  • It seems to me that too many people now feel that they can dictate the hours they work to suit themselves and their childcare arrangements, which is fine for them, but it is their colleagues who have to pick up the slack and work the nights and weekends. As a ward manager I am completely fed up with people trying to tell me they can't work this or that day. It makes doing a duty roster a complete nightmare. However flexible working does not have to be agreed if it does not meet the need of the service, so compromise is needed on the part of the employee wanting to work to fit around their children. After all it is a 24/7 service, patients need their needs met all the time. If you don't want to take your share of the unpopular shifts, then don't work in nursing. Or get a job somewhere like outpatients.

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