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NHS & Long Shifts????

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Messy
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NHS & Long Shifts????

Post by Messy » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:17 pm

Mrs Messy has been in hospital again - poor thing. She's home now & under my care and eating my food - poor thing!!! ;)

Whilst I understand in the 21st century somehow 12hr shifts are now almost commonplace again, many of the staff on her ward were working a 13.5 hr day, on three consecutive days. How the hell can that be safe?

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Re: NHS & Long Shifts????

Post by martin1804 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:22 pm

Hi Messy

the NHS is one of the last bastions of such work patterns as a norm. Where my wife is a matron, some of her theatre staff work 8AM to 9PM then are on call for the rest of the night. They stay in hospital accommodation while on call and sleep, but may be called on to work overnight if required. But in that case, they would not be working the following day whether rostered or not. As long as their normal weekly hours are not surpassed, need determines the requirement - within reason of course. What you will find is that those who do 13.5 hour shifts three days in a row then would probably have four days off, following this, which is something that a lot of us would like to do, given the opportunity. You'd be knackered at the end of the three days, but have four days off to get over it. Some of the staff who are on annualised hours work longer shifts out of term time so that they can have school holidays off, but as long as they work the hours they have agreed, it is deemed OK unless something else causes a problem.

But I thought that your missus is a NHS person or is my memory getting befuddled? Either way, hope she has a speedy recovery and that your cooking does not make her worse...... :P

all the best Messy

Martin

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Re: NHS & Long Shifts????

Post by Alexis » Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:37 pm

Awhhh! Poor Mrs M. You make sure you look after her Mr M. Please send her my best for a speedy recovery. bighug
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Re: NHS & Long Shifts????

Post by Messy » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:08 am

Thanks Alexis :)

Martin - You are not becoming befuddled (I wish I could say the same!). She is indeed a former NHS employee - who perhaps like you - has seen quite a few changes in her time! It's a shame that more sensible shifts/hours aren't one of those changes

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Re: NHS & Long Shifts????

Post by Coolcat » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:26 am

I hope Mrs M is feeling better bighug
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Re: NHS & Long Shifts????

Post by martin1804 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:41 pm

But Messy, do the fire service not still do ridiculous long shifts, albeit with loads of downtime and kipping at the station when on duty? I thought that the standard shift was days long, or am I remembering London's burning????

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Re: NHS & Long Shifts????

Post by ssmith65 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:16 pm

4x12 hour shifts is I think the norm for the fire brigade. I believe that was one of the main reason there was threat of strike action becuase they wanted to make them work shorter hours over more days and as I believe a few of the firemen are also taxi drivers for the 8 days out of every 16 they dont work they didnt like the idea of that? I might have missunderstood that and I might just be being my cinacle self but at least thats how I understood it.

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Re: NHS & Long Shifts????

Post by Messy » Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:04 pm

The shift system when I was working was fantastic. But that's all over. Many fire services now do not allow their staff to 'rest'. Indeed, some are so politically embarrassed by sleeping crews, they now dont supply beds, but publicly supply 'horizontal resting platforms' (no I don't know either!!) . It is seen as unjustifiable in these austere times to have staff sleeping, but I would argue what would you have crews doing at 3am? Checking the hydrant outside your bedroom window? Training in the fire station yard with noisy pumps and kit? Visiting nightclubs and hospitals? But the bean counters want efficiencies so there's no stopping it now.

The changes to the shifts (was a 9 hr day & a 15 hr night) systems across the UK have largely been about.... you have guessed it... saving money. London don't do 12hr shifts (yet) but many do and it is perhaps the best system when it comes to working hours and safety.

The cash savings can be made when the start/finish times are set at say 8am/pm. Statistics show that most calls happen between 8 to 8, so it is possible to introduce shifts which enable the crewing of two pumps during the day and just one pump at night. Or perhaps man one of the pumps with a day only shift.

I can see that this works if you manipulate a spreadsheet and just look a totals. But if you look a bit deeper into the stats, it will show that the majority of rescues (fire and RTC) happen at night, as do fire deaths. So IMHO, using a 'bus timetable approach' to supply more appliances when there's more calls just doesn't work. Especially if you (or a loved one) are trapped by fire as you were sleeping and are now awaiting rescue from a thinly stretched fire service.

Procedures have moved on since I was a smoke eater. For example, high rise fires now attract many more resources and the first crews on scene are not allowed to commit unless sufficient back up crews are in attendance (For H&S reasons). That's not good news when resources are stretched at night, so crews will be delayed entering the fire at the time when there is the highest risk of fire deaths/rescue.

Progress? Hmmm, I am not so sure :(

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Re: NHS & Long Shifts????

Post by Steve M » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:21 pm

All the best for your good lady and your food.

Long hours are the norm at my place as well, contracted to work 10 1/4 hour days, scheduled for 11 hour days and expected to work anything up to 15 hour days.
Driving 7.5 ton lorries, working at height (tail lift), loading and unloading on roads including busy roads. and some of the mates paid £60 a day (below minimum wage even on contracted timing).

The company can demand it because there isn't much work out there, currently advising the drivers that there is a national shortage of LGV drivers (diminishing grandfather rights license) and they should stand up for themselves.

It looks like H&S versus job market.

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