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Disappointed with the way the NHS treats its staff

(11 Posts)
cupcakeandtea Tue 13-Sep-11 16:38:21

I’m probably being totally naïve and never appreciated how well I was treated by my last company (publishing and there for over a decade), but I’m really shocked at the way the NHS treats its staff. For a caring profession, it doesn’t seem to have grasped the idea that a happy workforce is a productive workforce.
I’m on a fixed term contract and currently not having a very happy pregnancy. Had very serious morning sickness and passing out and was signed off by my GP last week. When I told my (old-school) manager she was far from happy and said I was needed in the office so I could come in later if ‘I had to’.
I’ve always tried to give 100% in all my jobs so I’ve staggered in, alternatively throwing up at work and feeling dreadful. Today, she told me that if I want to come in later next week I will have to make up the hours by working on my day off (currently work a four day week).
I know I’m only going to be here for a few more months but I just find the whole attitude towards staff really shocking. I thought it would be quite family friendly but I've found it to be just the opposite.

I just wonder whether it’s my Trust that’s like this or whether it’s just the way the NHS works.

hairylights Tue 13-Sep-11 17:59:28

If you are signed off you shouldn't be in work at all whatever sector you work in. She has no right to insist on you going in.

therugratref Tue 13-Sep-11 18:04:56

Nor does she have the right to insist you pay back your hours. I also work for the NHS and high sickness rates are a problem, so she is probably following A higher management and HR directive to manage sickness robustly- saying that every one knows pregnant women are untouchable and are not managed under the sickness policy.
Sorry you are a) feeling so grim and b) being made to feel guilty about it

Northernlurker Tue 13-Sep-11 18:05:06

I work in the NHS. It is a big organisation. Big organisations have to have policies and those policies have to be fairly applied to ensure the business is viable and all staff are treated the same.

Two points - firstly your manager should have backed off and respected that you were signed off sick. If she wanted to suggest a late start she could do so by saying ' when you are ready to come back we could flex your hours to...'
Secondly if you are flexing your hours you should be doing all of them - either by working say 10 till 6 instead of 9-5 or using annual leave or unpaid leave for the part you don't want to work. What you cannot have is time off 'for free'. If you're sick you're sick. If you're fit to be at work on flexed hours, fine. If you aren't fit to do your full hours your choice is to be signed off or use leave for the bit you don't want to do as I said above.

I think the NHS is family friendly. What it isn't is friendly towards losing working time 'to be nice'. We can't afford that.

Northernlurker Tue 13-Sep-11 18:07:28

Pregnant women are not untouchable - what an absurd thing to say! Sickness is pregnancy is not usually proceeded against under the sickness policy because it is invariably followed by a period of leave and by the time the employee is back at work sickness rates are 'normalised' again. It is not excluded however.

Vibrant Tue 13-Sep-11 18:14:01

I've worked in the nhs for many years and managed staff in former positions. If you have a sick note you shouldn't be at work. You either need to stay off for the duration of the sick note, or have a note from your doctor to say that you're fit enough to return earlier. Otherwise you shouldn't be on the premises.

I would be speaking to Human Resources and see what they have to say about it.

I sympathise too as I had horrendous morning (more like all day) sickness and coudln't work. I was signed off for 5 weeks - there was no question of being asked to come in.

allbie Wed 14-Sep-11 10:57:12

You've obviously been to the recent relevant study day, northernlurker...Bet you're all up to date on your mle too. Has the nhs ever been 'nice'? It is a huge organisation full of managers...axing a few of them could save a few pennies. You're not a manager are you? No offense meant, if you are.

cupcakeandtea Wed 14-Sep-11 12:15:30

No, I'm not a manager.

Thanks for all your comments. I would take issue with the NHS being family friendly though. This is the third Trust I've worked at and flexible it is not. Obviously I don't expect my manager to bend over backwards to accommodate me but I'll be returning to the private sector next year. I just wonder how many good but unhappy staff the NHS loses ever year.

Northernlurker Wed 14-Sep-11 14:50:22

I am a manager. grin

We cannot afford to pay people for work they aren't doing. If you are sick you will be paid. If you take emergency carers leave you will be paid. If you take maternity leave you are paid at a level above statutory. What you will not be paid for is being well enough to be at work but not do the full hours - unless you are on a phased return work organised by Occupational Health.

The op was signed off, she should never even have been at work. However as she was at work it is not being 'inflexible' to ask her to work her full hours.

RickGhastley Wed 14-Sep-11 16:04:10

Agree with Northernlurker in that you should either be signed off from work and therefore absent or you should come in and do your contracted hours.

Doing part days and "what you can" is heroic but a pain for managers as they cannot plan their staffing and they have a staffmember who is physically present but unable to work.

I do think your manager should have been more pleasant about things and told you to stay off whilst you are ill though!

Carpediem2007 Fri 16-Sep-11 22:36:49

I work for the NHS and did through my pregnancy too. In my experience, I was allowed reduced hours (no overnight work, later start) and lots of flexibility, without the need to 'make up' the lost hours. My manager was reluctant to support me but once I had to be signed off for sciatica and SPD around 20 weeks for 1 week, she decided that she'd rather I worked flexibly than stopped working altogether which helped me carrying on working until 34 weeks.

What you get by law, in my memory, is paid time off to attend any appointment linked to ante natal care.

I think that I was told that as soon as you announce to your manager that you are pregnant, you have to do a risk assessment and agree if you are able to continue your duty safely, if not what are the options, adapt your current post, move to another post, not working etc.

If you are too unwell to work your full hours, it may be worth meeting occupational health to consider reduced hours if you are going to work at all. I don't think that they reduce your pay if you do that (they did not for me) but I am not a manager, your HR should give you a maternity policy about the local guidelines. The alternative might be for you to be signed off sick and not work at all and be on sick pay.

I think that sick leave has to be transformed into maternity leave if you are off sick by ??? 34 or 36 weeks of pregnancy, no matter when you planned to start it, your employer can force you to start maternity leave then.

Each trust has a family and pregnancy advisor, maybe they could help you with local policy? I found the occupational health team very supportive in my trust.

Hope you feel better soon, I had morning sickness all day long for about 6 months and used to stop to be sick regularly every morning during my work commute and the only thing that ever helped was to eat a cracker every hour or any form of bland carbohydrate that did not taste too strong :-)

good luck!

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