Longer shifts at hospi­tal?

Glamorgan Gazette - - Front Page - ABBY BOLTER abby.bolter@waleson­line.co.uk

STAFF at Brid­gend’s Princess of Wales Hospi­tal are fac­ing even longer shifts which could lead to mis­takes with pa­tients, it is be­ing warned.

HOSPI­TAL staff al­ready “work­ing flat out” face even longer shifts which could lead to mis­takes with pa­tients.

That’s the warn­ing from a union after bosses told nurses and health care work­ers at Brid­gend’s Princess of Wales Hospi­tal that all but three wards will move from eight hour to 12.5 hour shifts from May.

Those staff who have al­ready moved onto the shifts vol­un­tar­ily are al­ready suf­fer­ing from “mem­ory and con­cen­tra­tion lapses and im­paired de­ci­sion-mak­ing abil­i­ties”, ac­cord­ing to one whistle­blow­ing worker who wants to re­main anony­mous.

They claimed that “morale is at an all-time low” as staff worry about meet­ing child­care re­spon­si­bil­i­ties un­der the new ar­range­ment and may leave as a re­sult.

It’s also claimed they could also face be­ing trans­ferred to a ward deal­ing in a spe­cial­ity in which they have no train­ing if they stay but refuse to work the shifts.

Uni­son branch sec­re­tary An­drew O’Leary warned staff could be plunged into “a cy­cle of ris­ing stress, burn out and in­creased sick­ness ab­sence”.

But Abertawe Bro Mor­gan­nwg Univer­sity Health Board said there is cur­rently a wide va­ri­ety of shift lengths in the hospi­tal and stan­dar­d­is­ing start and fin­ish times “would help speed up the process of hand­ing over”. They be­lieve this will im­prove pa­tient safety, re­duce du­pli­ca­tion and free up more time for staff to spend with pa­tients.

Mr O’Leary said: “In­creas­ing shifts from eight hours to 12.5 hours will put a great strain on POW Hospi­tal staff who al­ready are work­ing flatout and giv­ing ev­ery­thing they pos­si­bly can over the en­tire day.

“You have to ques­tion whether the board re­ally has the best in­ter­ests of pa­tients and staff in mind. There is a dan­ger morale will sink lower and ex­ist­ing re­ten­tion prob­lems may be fur­ther ex­ac­er­bated at the Brid­gend site.”

He added: “If staff are fa­tigued, mis­takes are more likely with ob­vi­ous con­se­quences for pa­tients.

“When mem­bers of the pub­lic are treated in hospi­tal, they want to be seen by some­one who is fresh and fo­cused on the job, not some­one who is so ex­hausted that the best care is jeop­ar­dized.

“We look for­ward to in­volve­ment in dis­cus­sions about how the board can better pro­mote fam­ily-friendly and flex­i­ble work­ing ar­range­ments.”

An ABMU spokes­woman said: “These pro­pos­als won’t be fi­nalised un­til the con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod has fin­ished, feed­back con­sid­ered and any ap­pro­pri­ate changes made as a re­sult of the feed­back.

“If changes are made, no mat­ter what they are, we’re com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing staff bal­ance their home and work life de­mands.

“We will work with in­di­vid­u­als to be as fair as pos­si­ble in meet­ing their in­di­vid­ual needs in line with the flex­i­ble work­ing frame­work and their con­tracted hours.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the prospect of change can be un­nerv­ing and so we are en­cour­ag­ing staff and staff-side rep­re­sen­ta­tives to get in­volved in the con­sul­ta­tion which runs be­tween Fe­bru­ary 4 and March 5 and help guide any changes.

“We can con­firm it is stan­dard prac­tice that should any staff wish to or need to change wards an in­duc­tion pro­gramme and train­ing is pro­vided.”

Many work­ers at the Princess of Wales Hospi­tal in Brid­gend are mov­ing to 12.5-hour shifts

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