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NHS: Why not revert to 8 hour shifts?

(27 Posts)
Miljea Sun 05-Apr-20 18:39:44

Sorry if someone else has been all over this!

But, surely we can all see how these 12 hour shifts are breaking our front line NHS workers?

Yes, in 'normal times', they may work; I know from previously posting that there are a fair few NHS workers who like them (personally, I don't think you give your last patient on Day, or Night Three of 12 hour shifts the same standard of care as you would your last patient at the end of Day/Night Four of 8 hour shifts).

But managers also love12 hours for rota'ing purposes. Oh, and they're 13 hours each as the NHS has a 37.5 hr working week.

But right now, would it now allow nurses/HCAs to mentally and physically regroup doing 8 hour shifts, not 12, in hot, uncomfortable, claustrophobic PPE?

OP’s posts: |
SpeedofaSloth Sun 05-Apr-20 18:41:44

I agree.

Patchworksack Sun 05-Apr-20 18:42:51

Because then you need 33% more staff and they currently have lost 8% to suspected or actual Covid, and they need to magic some up from somewhere to staff their new hospitals.

meow1989 Sun 05-Apr-20 18:43:34

The number of staff required to cover 21 shifts a week as opposed to 14, and allowing for sickness/leave would be considerably higher. Also, 1w hour shifts are hideous but at least you get 3/4 days to recuperate a week.

Increasing the number of shifts a day also increases the number of people entering and leaving a hospital and key worker children accessing education provisions more frequently which would presumably increase the risk of infection rates in the community.

Camomila Sun 05-Apr-20 18:44:24

My A&E Dr friend is doing 7am-3pm atm, but more days on in a row without a break.

meow1989 Sun 05-Apr-20 18:45:26

It's also rare to do 3 12 hour day shifts in row, granted people may work 3 nights for obvious reasons

Cary2012 Sun 05-Apr-20 18:45:58

So, whilst I understand your point, it would mean more medical staff going in and out, more contact, more travel, more PPE, more handovers, more contact.

My DD is an ITU nurse in a major city hospital. She does 3 13 hr shifts over 7 days, occasionally an extra shift. This hasn't changed. If she did shorter shifts, she would do more shifts, and her days off are very necessary, especially when she's able to string 2 or 3 days off together.

Patchworksack Sun 05-Apr-20 18:46:01

Or do you mean the same hours but over more shifts? Would still need to be more than 8 hours allowing for 3 handovers, also would cause havoc with established childcare arrangements and keyworker children in school.

Casino218 Sun 05-Apr-20 18:47:13

Why don't you find more staff and then they can! What a stupid question. Do you think the NHS just wants to wear its staff out on purpose!!

Bargebill19 Sun 05-Apr-20 18:48:14

Simple lack of staff is the reason. Either not enough staff in the first place, (don’t get me started as to why) or they are sick or in annual leave. The hours still need to be covered - so people have to work longer shifts to cover the gap.

Indella Sun 05-Apr-20 19:05:56

There isn’t enough staff! We can barely cover shifts as it is. Staff are working 12 hour days and doing 6/7 days in a week sometimes. Annual leave has been cancelled. We are spending a fortune on agency staff. There’s absolutely no way we could switch to shorter shifts right now.

Miljea Sun 05-Apr-20 19:08:36

Casino I can assure you the evidence reveals that, over the past 10 years, the (Tory) government does not give a Pygmy flying fuck about the welfare of the NHS staff.

OP’s posts: |
Sleepyblueocean Sun 05-Apr-20 19:14:42

Not enough staff. My sister who works on a covid ward is now in self isolation with suspected covid. The person she worked most closely with is already off with positive covid and she said two others on the ward are now off with sus covid.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Sun 05-Apr-20 19:20:25

We don't have enough staff to cover the day and night 12.5 hour shifts, never mind 3 shifts a day!

I work in mental health in patient services, already our staffing is depleted and we have only had suspected cases, once we do get it which will happen, we will not get bank or agency staff and will likely be working on at least a third less staff than our standard numbers.

I don't know how we will manage. I am exhausted already.....

Miljea Sun 05-Apr-20 19:22:14

I still am unsure if the maths (sorry if I'm missing something, here!) but 7 days is 168 hours. You can divide them into 14 twelve hour shifts, or 21 eight hour shifts.

In a week you'd be asked to do three 12 hours, or four 8 hour shifts.

You still putting in the same number of hours.

Yes, you'd be 'in' more but do a third less hours, a third less of wearing hot, uncomfortable, claustrophobic PPE.

I'm not quite seeing why you'd need more staff.

OP’s posts: |
Whenwillthisbeover Sun 05-Apr-20 19:23:32

DD does four on four off as standard. 8-8 for four days then 9-9 for two days and two nights 8-8. All the time Normal.

NewDOOFUSfor20 Sun 05-Apr-20 19:27:04

@Miljea you would need an early nurse, a late nurse, a twilight nurse (possibly, depending on nature of department) and a night nurse for 8 hour (which is actually 7.5 hours as you get an unpaid break --hollow laugh--) shifts as opposed to a day nurse and a night nurse

missyB1 Sun 05-Apr-20 19:27:17

Dh (medical consultant) has just been put on 12 hour shifts, 3 days on, 3 days off. Of course as more staff go off sick those 3 days off probably won’t be happening.
Oh and he’s doing more than 12 hours today as he’s just messaged me to say he probably won’t be home until 10pm ish he started at 8am this morning.

meow1989 Sun 05-Apr-20 19:28:45

@miljea legally you have to have at least 11 hours off between shifts (not saying that always happens).

So a nurse working 8-4, for example, can't work again until the next 8-4 shift, leaving 2 other shifts that need covering, therefore, more staff are needed : to cover one nursing role for 24 hours you would need a b and c rather than a and b.

NewDOOFUSfor20 Sun 05-Apr-20 19:28:53

And you'll be in for 5, not 4, days.
This is how it was when I first started 19 years ago btw, you would regularly end up working 10/11 shifts in a row if you wanted your 2 days off together (for like a weekend away or something)

Indella Sun 05-Apr-20 19:33:23

@Miljea Because when someone currently works 3 long days they can do overtime of an extra 12 hour day or two. If someone is already working 5 days it’s harder for them to fit in overtime that’s very much needed. Plus you have to have handover so there’s always an overlap between shifts, more shifts, more overlap, more hours to cover.

KitKat1985 Sun 05-Apr-20 19:33:25

NHS nurse here. Long shifts are hard, but I used to do 5 x 7.5 hour shifts as week and the number of times I was supposed to do an early shift and finish at 3pm but never made it out of the ward until nearly 4-5pm or later as the finish time for the shift is in the middle of the working day and you usually get interrupted constantly by relatives, phone calls etc when you are trying to write notes / do handover etc, so in reality the working days weren't that much shorter. You also have to account for 5 lots of travel time each week as oppose to just 3 when you do 3 long days. And I like having 4 days off each week. Having said that working in PPE is uncomfortable and I do think the managers need to look at ways to make it more manageable.

user1471439240 Sun 05-Apr-20 19:40:09

This could be easily sorted by doing two 12hr day shifts then two 12 hr night shifts. 4 on 6 off. The swap onto nights in the middle is a break of 24hrs. This pattern is in use throughout industry. The leave is around 15 days per year. Shift swaps are more available due to the 6 rest days. Downside is it requires 5 teams.

crosser62 Sun 05-Apr-20 19:40:29

It’s lovely that you are thinking of how to make working life better for staff op, thank you.

People have explained it really well.

In actual fact the 12 hour covid ICU shifts are interspersed by breaks every 3 hours at present for us.

Normally in non covid times, it can be 10 hours without a toilet or meal break.

We are looking after each other well. As we all have open sores on our faces from the masks it is important to take the mask off frequently and wash our faces.

HostessTrolley Sun 05-Apr-20 19:56:15

I worked as a midwife, full time was 3x12hr/week plus a half shift once a month - and it wasn’t normal to get your 3 on the bounce. 4x12 on the bounce is what’s advertised for the Nightingale, it doesn’t mean every nurse on every ward is working that way.

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