Longer shifts at hospital?
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