Nurses being asked about changes to working hours
HOSPITAL bosses have unveiled plans to change the shift patterns of hundreds of city nurses – in a bid to bring the way they work into the 21st century.
The introduction of 12-hour shifts – but fewer working days – are part of proposals put forward by Derby's hospitals trust.
And the plans could affect more than 1,500 nurses.
At the moment, nurses work a variety of shifts – including the traditional pattern of five days a week.
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But acting chief nurse Cathy Winfield said there was "a lot of inconsistencies" with the current system and they were looking to put nurses on the majority of wards on similar shifts. This includes having them on three 12-hour shifts a week.
Ms Winfield said: "These are shifts which are already widely being used in other hospitals and are a more modern way of working.
"The positives for staff should be some more continuity in their working and social lives."
Ms Winfield said it was hoped the plans would make patients feel "safe and secure" because they were more likely to be cared for by the same nurse – while it would give staff a "better work-life balance".
She said it would also make it easier to move nurses around the Royal Derby Hospital when bosses were opening up extra wards for additional patients, or closing off wards because of outbreaks of infections.
Royal College of Nursing representative for Derby's hospitals Michael Hayworth said there had been a mixed reaction to the proposals – with staff currently being consulted on them.
But he said this all came down to how the proposed shift patterns fitted in with each nurse's individual lifestyle and outside-of-work commitments.
He said: "Some staff have already said they are able to do it, while others have concerns about what is proposed. There's not so much a general feeling as an individual one, depending on each nurse's circumstances.
"The one thing which is very positive is that there would be an 11-hour gap between each shift – that is a good move forward. I also want to ensure staff get the breaks they are entitled to, as this will be important."
Ms Winfield said feedback was still being gathered before any changes, which would not happen until May, were made. She added not all wards would be affected by the changes – such as the medical assessment unit – and said some nurses were already doing 12-hour shifts.
This includes Helen Lee, senior staff nurse at the intensive care unit, who said: "I find the shifts work well for me because I am able to spread my workload and build a relationship with the patient and their relatives."