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Agency Nurses being furloughed...**Title edited by MNHQ**

(101 Posts)
Idolikeanicepieceofcake Sat 02-May-20 18:27:28

My OH and I work in healthcare. He is a critical care nurse (working on bank and agency as we need one of us to have flexible working) and yet he was told last week that he is being furloughed as there is no work. My job is continuing as normal, and technically he doesn't need to work as I earn enough to support the family, but doesn't it seem crazy that the hospitals don't need extra staff at all? I have noticed that there are oodles of staff working in ITU at the moment, who have presumably been 'up-skilled' from other departments, but I am still surprised they don't need highly-trained and experienced nurses to be supporting them/looking after the most unwell patients. My OH has volunteered to go and work away in other hospitals, but so far they all have enough staff. On one hand I am proud that the NHS is managing this pandemic so well that they don't need to get extra staff in, but on the other I'm wondering whether we massively overestimated how awful COVID-19 was going to be on the health service. Have any other nurses been furloughed?

OP’s posts: |
Jellycatspyjamas Sat 02-May-20 18:34:00

I’m guessing that so much routine work has been postponed to create capacity that some places are over resourced. Once they start dealing with that backlog folk will be under pressure again and balancing all those resources takes time.

Lifeisabeach09 Sat 02-May-20 18:37:27

Lots of nursing homes looking for agency RNs.;)
You'd think there would be CC work somewhere for your DH. Clearly trusts would prefer to give responsibility to less experienced nurses than pay agency rates. Heartwarming.
And, no, we didn't overestimate. We locked down, which reduced the spread of virus, which stopped hospitals from getting overwhelmed. The govt also missed (or didn't care) that much of the frontline would actually be care homes and not hospitals.

MagnoliatheMagnificent Sat 02-May-20 18:42:42

There's has been a lot of redeployment of eg school nurses, nurse specialists... In my area I do bank (children) and can't find any work! My friends in school nursing have been sent to community nursing and similar as the schools are shut so most of the usual work isn't happening. Elective surgery has been cancelled so children's wards are much quieter than usual, as well as most children with coronavirus thankfully don't need hospitalisation.

ToffeeYoghurt Sat 02-May-20 18:44:14

One reason our death rate is headed towards being one of the highest in the world is because people aren't being admitted to hospital until very late stages. The nightingale hospital in London has to turn patients away from desperately overwhelmed other hospitals. Some of those patients later died. Survival is far more likely with earlier treatment. If nurses are being furloughed whilst patients are being denied emergency hospital care something's gone terribly wrong.

IKEA888 Sat 02-May-20 18:48:10

I work in a hospital. It's been v v quiet.
partly due to routine stuff cancelled but v v low on admissions for emergency stuff.
My guess is once things return to some sorry of normality he will get work again.

ToffeeYoghurt Sat 02-May-20 18:48:55

The quieter non Covid wards is intentional. Rightly so. It would take just one unknowingly infected Covid patient or HCP to spread it throughout a ward or department full of vulnerable ill patients. It's one of the reasons Italy's death rate is so high. Some of the clusters were in hospitals. Obviously also that one patient zero would then lead to half or more of the staff being off sick (or dying) leaving no-one available for urgent care (Covid or non Covid).

IKEA888 Sat 02-May-20 18:49:29

our children's ward has usually approx 15 patients at any time.
v few due to routine procedures .
since end march between 0 to 5 ..maonly around 1 to 3 patients.

ToffeeYoghurt Sat 02-May-20 18:52:34

It's really rather worrying if nurses don't understand contagion.

Spaghetti123 Sat 02-May-20 18:59:57

@Toffeeyoghurt. They do. What on earth do you think you're saying?

Izzy24 Sat 02-May-20 19:01:05

This doesn’t sound likely to me.

If you’re a bank nurse you work when work is available and don’t work if there isn’t any.

Being ‘furloughed’ doesn’t come into it at all.

Peachypips78 Sat 02-May-20 19:03:15

We have this in our trust. Everything got cancelled in prep for the influx and now we have loads of staff and managers with nothing to do! There's no meetings really either which makes staff less busy. Our MDT meetings are so much shorter over skype.

SexTrainGlue Sat 02-May-20 19:05:07

Hospitals have recruited thousands of extra staff, by re-deploying, calling for returners, allowing student nurses to qualify early and start working etc

Has he actually been furloughed, or is it just that bank work has dried up?

SauvignonBlanche Sat 02-May-20 19:06:26

Nurses from clinics, elective theatres and other departments that are no longer functioning have been redeployed to wards and the first thing we did was cancel all Bank and agency.

Agency staff are paid at a highly elevated rate when work is available but is basically a zero hours contract so when they’re not needed they’re the first to go.

SimpleKindofLife Sat 02-May-20 19:09:12

* If nurses are being furloughed whilst patients are being denied emergency hospital care something's gone terribly wrong.*

Indeed. Many are being denied early, life saving treatment that could've saved thousands of lives. It's frustrating and disgraceful.

I've been very ill with Covid for nearly 6 weeks (2 weeks of those being extremely ill, including struggling to breathe) and I've come up against constant barriers while trying to get proper treatment from my GP, from 111 and A&E. I'm just told to manage at home with paracetamol!

Devaki Sat 02-May-20 19:09:54

Unfortunately that’s the risk you take when you work agency or bank. When the work’s there an agency nurse gets paid so much more than the permanent staff on the wards. When there’s no work you don’t get paid. Swings and roundabouts.

SimpleKindofLife Sat 02-May-20 19:10:22

And nurses are being furloughed while so many people are still dying... and there's talk about lockdown being lifted... it's quite unbelievable!

bloodyhellsbellsx Sat 02-May-20 19:11:46

I don’t understand how a bank worker gets furloughed? That’s the nature of being bank/agency if they don’t need you you don’t work. But yes we have more staff than patients within our hospital currently but elective working is hoping to recommence soon so that’s when the manic period will come.

felineflutter Sat 02-May-20 19:11:49

I suppose the higher rates for bank staff and flexibility mean that you don't get the same security as nurses who are paid less.

Elouera Sat 02-May-20 19:14:06

I'm with an agency too and spoke to the manager yesterday. Not only have 6000 retired nurses started up again, but students are taking on different roles, along with the multiple staff from closed wards and clinics. Our agency are getting a fraction of their previous shift requests as a result. Even hospital banks (apparently) aren't as busy due to the influx of other nurses. Seems the hierarchy for shifts are:
- existing ward staff
- redeployed/retired staff
- bank staff
- agency staff

I too know of shielding/vulnerable agency nurses being furloughed, as there is no suitable work for them.

maleficent53 Sat 02-May-20 19:14:19

I am a bank nurse currently no work as wards closed and staff redeployed. Glad the nhs has coped but beyond covid the system needs to get up and running.

SauvignonBlanche Sat 02-May-20 19:15:07


Sorry to shout but this thread title is so misleading. I’m cancelling agency staff and relocating our own staff, saving the taxpayers money.
If I needed agency staff I would book them but I’m utilising other staff first.

Idolikeanicepieceofcake Sat 02-May-20 19:16:20

The Trust that he is on bank at has not got any shifts for him in the areas that he is able to work, and the nursing agency have said that he needs to be furloughed as they have no work coming in.

OP’s posts: |
VioletCharlotte Sat 02-May-20 19:16:33

I don't understand how he can be furloughed if he's Bank staff? Bank staff only work when there are shifts available.

I've not heard of any NHS staff being furloughed. At my trust, clinical staff have all been redeployed to work on the wards or in the community. If there is no work available, people are acting as runners, collecting prescriptions, providing transport, delivering PPE, etc.

bloodyhellsbellsx Sat 02-May-20 19:17:19


Yeah that was my thought too, I think the OP is being a drama llama trying to stir up another NHS bashing thread, I’m sure lazy nurses, tik toks and unfair staff discounts will soon come up 🤪

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