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NHS staff leaving - forcing others to leave

(75 Posts)
CountryLovingGirl Fri 06-Oct-17 16:55:10


21 years in the NHS and I have never seen it so bad. We don't work as nurses but do nights/weekends just the same, in a professional role. However, before Jeremy Hunt announced that he wanted a 7 day NHS, without increasing staffing levels, we only did 1 in 4 weekends and a manageable amount of on-call/nights. Now we are working a ridiculous amount of weekends and nights etc. then quick turnaround for early shifts. Staff are tired. There is nothing in our contract to stop them. Management all work M-F 9-5 of course.

The increase in out of hours and a ridiculous pattern of shifts (causing staff to become tired and no quality of life) has put pressure on staff especially parents. We have had a lot of sickness (not myself but close colleagues I've worked with for years) and this, in itself put pressure on the ones remaining as the same number of shifts needed to be covered. We had 3 members of staff off for over 6 months. Their shifts had to be covered by the rest of us.
People also struggle to get childcare now. No family friendly working apart from the few who already had it. Again, this puts pressure on the remainder.
In the last 4 months we have had 4 staff resign. They were absolutely distraught. All mums, 3 of them were part time but still struggled. They had all gone through university etc. and had many years of training. All 4 had no job to go to but they just could not go on.

In a drive to save money the above staff were replaced with lower grades. They are unable to work weekends and nights as they are not qualified to be left unsupervised. Again, the pressure mounts on the remaining staff. Can you see the picture forming?

Sadly, I am now finding it impossible to continue myself. Struggling with childcare and tiredness. Highly specialised in my field but can't go on.

Is anyone else in the NHS finding the cutbacks and 7 day service thing a bit too much? Why can't the unions do anything?

Yellowheart Fri 06-Oct-17 17:02:03

Teacher here. Colleagues resigning in droves. School staffed by unqualified teachers.

We get the governments we vote for.

SoPassRemarkable Fri 06-Oct-17 17:02:55

Well my dept has always been a 7 day service so not seen a difference in that as such. But we are so short staffed now it's unreal. Can't cover vacancies, sickness rates are through the roof.

Finished nights on Monday, back on days weds and thurs then nights starting again on Friday! Which seems to be normal these days. Not unusual to get roster of 60 hours even though meant to be 37.

People are on their knees. Staff crying every shift, people handing their notice in frequently.

PinkBuffalo Fri 06-Oct-17 17:09:17

Sympathise with you. Police here, and staff leaving in droves whilst work increases daily. Sickness is high, and stress levels through the roof. We are supposed to be back office "admin staff" but we are doing 10 hrs a day just to keep on stuff running out of time on the statute of limitations. We are cut yo the bone and I gave no idea how it's going to go on flowers to others in the same situation

Somanyillustrations Fri 06-Oct-17 17:11:37

Yep, radiographer here- currently doing lates or nights 3 weeks out of 4, as we are mainly staffed by locum (who management won't payout of hour enhancements to). 6 day weeks most weeks.

So much sickness, lots leaving the profession for good, and we just cant recruit. Everyone is so unhappy, management are so unsympathetic...

I'm looking for a way out at the moment sad

Sidge Fri 06-Oct-17 17:14:46

Yup. The NHS is on it's knees.

I was on the other side last week as an inpatient and the poor clinical staff were run ragged. One early shift they had the gynae specialist nurse have to cancel her clinic and do a shift on the ward as they were so short staffed.

Despite being non-stop they were amazing - especially one of the night HCAs who was so calm, kind and patient and caring. But even she said she can't do this much longer.

I don't agree with your comment about management though - they're not all bad. My DP is a manager and works 8-6 5 days a week, does work at home evenings and weekends and has to do duty manager for the whole hospital 1 weekend day in 3. Everyone is burning out.

thismeansnothing Fri 06-Oct-17 17:19:07

Ex NHS staff member here although not through choice. The contract for our service went to tender and was awarded to a private company. 😡

Room101isWhereIUsedtoLive Fri 06-Oct-17 17:19:16

Bank worker working in admin here. Been in my current role/department since Febuary. During that time we have had five or six people leave, one manager on long term sick and currently two members of staff on short term sick. And one staff member on maternity leave.
So the department is struggling to cope and with on average two thousand referrals every week, things are going to slip thorugh the cracks. Its basically inevitable.

ShitOrBust Fri 06-Oct-17 17:40:47

We get the governments we vote for.
This ^

Ttbb Fri 06-Oct-17 17:54:42

Don't blame the government. The amount of money it would cost to properly fund the NHS is unrealistic. The problem is the whole free fat all system that you have going here. Even if was properly funded a monopoly would reduce patient outcomes even if it was good for workers. The NHS was doomed to either fail or significantly reduce life expectancy. It seems to be doing both ATM.

CountryLovingGirl Fri 06-Oct-17 19:40:19

Pretty bad working in the public sector for all of us. I wonder who they think will provide services when there are no staff left??

I am very reluctant to find something else as I always wanted to work in the NHS but, sadly, I don't think I have much choice.

Our big manager works long hours but the ones beneath him don't. We seem to have a lot of managers at the moment and not enough of everyone else.

Sad times :-(

CountryLovingGirl Fri 06-Oct-17 19:41:36

We get the governments we vote for.

^^TRUE. They seem too have enough money when it suits them...DUP prop-up is just one

Ginmakesitallok Fri 06-Oct-17 19:43:52

It's hellos at the minute. Huge savings to be made - another embargo on admin staff, clinicians having to pick up the slack, sickness levels through the roof. It's shit.

Steeley113 Fri 06-Oct-17 19:47:57

I left the NHS 6 months ago. It's not much better staffing wise in the private sector but the pay and hours are better which makes it more bearable I guess. Healthcare is on its knees in general.

Tiddlywinks63 Fri 06-Oct-17 19:49:01

I was recently an inpatient and was horrified that it wasn't uncommon for nurses on the ward to do 12-14 twelve hour shifts in a row.
As a former nurse (for nearly 40 years) I cannot see how this can possibly be safe practice.
I did a Return to Practice course a few years ago and ended up leaving nursing because of the ridiculous hours and being unable to give patients the care they needed.
I would never recommend nursing as a career.

SoPassRemarkable Fri 06-Oct-17 19:50:46

Yep 13 hour shifts with no breaks for six days in a row isn't uncommon.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Fri 06-Oct-17 19:55:02

Yep. It's horrific. Which is why I am doing bank shifts and have been lucky to find a relatively family friendly job (although not that family friendly). It does mean I am yet another person with lots of experience who has pretty much left though. Like most of my NHS peers sad.

NorthernLurker Fri 06-Oct-17 20:01:56

I am a NHS manager. I do know how tough it is for clinical staff and I don't exactly work 9-5 myself. All I can say to the clinical people here is I'm so sorry this is where we are and I will continue to do the best I can for you and the patients.
The consistent failure of government to properly fund the NHS, to plan and invest in workforce and even to listen to the reports that are emerging across the country about a breaking system is a disgrace.

CountryLovingGirl Sat 07-Oct-17 08:59:24

WORKERS: We are short staffed, lots on the sick (long term) and some highly experienced staff leaving. We love our jobs but you are making life extremely difficult.

MANAGEMENT: Oh no, we can't run the service out of hours and our day time staffing levels are struggling. What will we do? I know, we'll put staff down for extra weekends and nights and make a nice, rosy picture that we are coping. When HR come down to watch us everything will look great. When we are inspected we will make sure no-one is off and we have enough staff. We don't mind that lower grade staff are doing stuff they shouldn't be - hey, it saves money (not lives).

WORKERS: They are not listening. We are already working ridiculous hours. One of my colleagues crashed her car after her 4th nightshift (she lives 1 hour away). My stress levels are through the roof. I can't sleep. I'm leaving/going on sick.


We've actually just had a 'newish' band 5 resign. That shocked them! She couldn't cope with the hours anymore. She had a small child. So sad as she was so full on enthusiasm when she started.

Management are not listening. Someone high up needs to just say we've had enough, not just putting on a brave face and making it look like we are coping. Even our consultant staff are leaving. We have junior doctors covering weekends who are not qualified/experienced to do so. Quality Is going down the river :-(

We've had 2 staff members die of a heart attack this last 18 months.

CountryLovingGirl Sat 07-Oct-17 09:01:21

Managers need to stand up to this constant underfunding. All together.

Onthehighseas Sat 07-Oct-17 09:10:14

I completely agree with staffing levels being cut to the bone and staff vacancy/sick levels increasing. However I really take issue with the 'Management all work M-F 9-5 of course.' comment. In our division, the management work even longer hours than the other staff, including every evening and every weekend and some holidays too. One manager on our team is thinking of working during his paternity leave because of his workload. Others are regularly in tears due to being overwhelmed with work, and run into conflict with families because of their hours.

It's awful for everyone, including the managers. And I dont see how managers can make any difference to the under funding by 'standing up' to it. The issue is way too complex for that.

Temporaryanonymity Sat 07-Oct-17 09:12:04

I used to work in the private sector. We viewed four consecutive 12 hour shifts as the maximum. Anything over that was seen as a red flag that something was going wrong and there would be a focused intervention in that particular setting. It is no good for patients or staff.

If i was in Charge of Everything for the day I would ban agency work. The lack of nurses seeking permanent roles (whether part time of full time) put pressure on existing teams and quality of care. Agency workers get flexibility but it is the agencies that profit.

CPtart Sat 07-Oct-17 09:43:14

I left district nursing after many years due to their inflexibility with childcare. Work in general practice now which is much more family friendly (although less pay) but mon-fri which is invaluable. 7 day working is laughable. I could work all the weekends you want, but then will need my days off at the busiest times during the week.
I understand one in four nurses are eligible to retire in the next ten years (me included.) Cant wait.

drinkswineoutofamug Sat 07-Oct-17 10:00:13

NHS here, ICU hca. Was going to do my nurse training but have been seriously put off. I am very often taken off the unit, as are a lot of our staff nurses to cover on the wards. Seems to be not only our trust but many other across the country. Recently needed to transfer a very sick patient to another ICU unit but couldn’t until they got their staff back from the wards. This is unsafe practice as we are being sent to wards we have no experience of working on. We feel gravely unappreciated. Our manager is very sympathetic to our course but feels her hands are tied. The site/bed managers see we have X amount of patients but not the level of care. Last night we had 4 staff nurses. They wanted 1 of the nurses to cover a ward. Not understanding we had a level 3 intubated patient who needed 4 to move. We then had to beg for a HCA , not trained for ICU care to cover the ward. This led to compromising patient safety as we had 4 level 3 patients ( 1:1care) but only 3 staff nurses. We have high levels of staff sickness and 5 highly trained staff leave in the last month. Days and nights in the same week. All the usual. I am now doing various courses at uni & college to gain qualifications so that I too can fly the nest and unfortunately leave the nhs and a job I used to love.

JenniferYellowHat1980 Sun 08-Oct-17 17:50:20

This should be in AIBU for all to see. What a disgrace.

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