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Hospital trust admits rotas denied nurses sufficient rest

  • 13 Comments

Nurses at East Cheshire NHS Trust have been working shifts that failed to ensure they had the legal minimum number of rest hours.

The trust admitted a problem with its e-rostering system had meant nurse rotas were not compliant with the European Working Time Directive (EWTD).

All acute wards at the trust’s Macclesfield Hospital were affected but the error did not impact on staff working in the community.

The problem was identified in September and mainly affected staff working consecutive days and those finishing a late shift followed by an early shift.

It meant these nurses were getting less than the minimum 11 hours rest required by the EWTD, which was adopted by the UK in 1998.

The trust told Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal that it was still reviewing how long rotas had not been compliant with the law.

The trust has launched a consultation with nursing staff to permanently change working patterns to ensure minimum rest hours are met although it confirmed all rotas were due to be compliant as of today, 4 January.

Changes to the rotas could financially affect some staff working bank shifts but nurses have been assured changes will not affect their salary levels.

A memo to all ward based nursing staff from Carol Seddon, deputy director of nursing and quality, said the consultation to determine future working patterns would last until 11 March.

nurse with clipboard

She said: “Whilst the consultation is ongoing, the trust can no longer continue to breach EWTD regulations which are designed to benefit and support shift workers.

“As an interim measure, it has been agreed with staff side that all shifts need to be rostered to comply with EWTD,” she added.

A trust spokesman said: “The trust consultation is aiming to ensure that all rotas have the appropriate minimum rest period between shifts and staff are fully informed and engaged. Staff side unions have been fully involved.

“The proposals do not involve any reduction in individual staff members’ overall contracted hours. Some staff may see changes [to pay] as a result of different working patterns,” he added.

  • 13 Comments

Readers' comments (13)

  • I am not surprised at this as I am also horrified that nurses can finish a night shift in the morning, which is then designated a day off and then be on duty again the next day on a long day. This happens a lot at our Trust on e-rostering. When someone has been on duty on nights for 12 hours plus with all the disruption to routines and circadian rhythm then how is a nurse expected to sleep on her day off and then sleep the following night and be fresh and efficient on duty the next day. This needs looking into!

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  • This is common place in Manchester Royal Infirmary 07.30-21.30 are the shift times, management have been asked countless times to revise these times and when asked they have told staff that the EU directives don't affect NHS shift workers

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  • changing the shift times may give extra rest between shifts, but staff will be losing out financially due to a reduction in unsocial hours payments. the standard working week reduced to 36 hours and staff will be having to make up hours. the trust has never been compliant with WTD untill they can benefit financially from the change.

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  • Royal Berkshire Hopsital frequently sees shifts that are 07:00-2130. Some of my colleagues have done this 2-3 days in a row. I know that most wards are swapping over to 07:30-1930 shifts only though, which means more days off, but we all know that thanks to the salary we'll be working those days off on bank.

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  • We can finish a Late Shift at 21.30pm, then be rostered to work an Early the following day starting at 07.30am...😔
    Although our nursing staff can 'opt out' of this working pattern, in practice this often doesn't happen....not good.....😔

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  • I have worked shifts which breached even common sense. In NHSD we were made to work a night shift and then return in the afternoon at 4pm for a late shift/twilight. It did nothing for my swiftness of reaction or my patience levels. One day I hope the Management who demanded this from us - will find themselves in the same treadmill as we were on. With a Management who also lacks compassion completely. Like they did.

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  • The shift pattern on my ward is awful, we are regularly fostered to work lates onto earlies, so finishing at 2115 and back in at 0715. We also work long days, (0715-2115) and I am regularly rostered to work late onto long day and often late to long day to early! My manager thinks this is acceptable and despite a high staff turnover and staff sickness, nothing has been done by the trust to address this situation!

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  • I am a RN in Australia and regularly work a late then early shift which is 23.00 finish and 07.00 start. We are told no laws are being broken as legally we only have to have 8 hrs between shifts!

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  • According to the Heath and Safety Executive:
    "if a shift worker changes shift, it may not be possible for them to take their full rest entitlement before starting the new pattern of work. In such a case the entitlement to daily and weekly rest does not apply."
    ( http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/faqs/workingtime.htm )
    According to ACAS
    "Generally there should be at least 11 hours between the end of one shift and the start of the next.

    Where this is not possible (for example, because the shift pattern changes) then the employer should ensure that the employee's total daily and weekly rest still adds up to at least 90 hours per week."
    ( http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4489 ).

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  • And people are surprised...really... erostering may remove the human element and the "waste" of resources but it can cause so many problems it's untrue....never in my 30 years of nursing have I been so despondent about the future

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