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Midwives - on call after 13hrs

(43 Posts)
rainydogday Wed 18-Oct-17 09:41:57

Any midwives out there? We do 'long days' which are 13 hours, with two 30 min breaks. We consistently don't get the second one if these. We also do on calls. We have now been told we need to do them after a 13 hour shift. So could also end up working most of the night confused I know we can say we don't feel we are safe to practice if excessively tired but I am shocked this is now even an option. Don't think I could cope. Do any other midwives routinely do this? I know we've all worked ridiculous hours at some point but to have this planned is worrying. The RCM don't seem to cover this.

littlemissalwaystired Wed 18-Oct-17 09:45:23

That's definitely not the case in my trust! I wouldn't be able to cope with being on call for those hours. Is it being on call for coming into the unit or for homebirths?

rainydogday Wed 18-Oct-17 09:58:00

Coming into unit. But they use the on calls for staffing most of the time as very short....all the time!

SandLand Wed 18-Oct-17 10:06:17

Check out the rules. I think you need 11 hours between shifts. So if you work 13hrs on Monday and are scheduled for 13 hrs on Tuesday, you can be called out, as it woukdnt give you a reasonable break. I'm not sure if call outs are classes in this or not, bug they are the rules we had yo stick by.

littlemissalwaystired Wed 18-Oct-17 16:57:22

I've definitely not experienced anyone doing on call after a long day or night, a separate on call person is on the rota. I'm looking to move soon and hope your trust isn't the one I'm looking at!grin

retirednow Thu 19-Oct-17 20:44:48

Are the extra hours considered to be 'on call' hours? Don't employers have to go through a consultation process and come to an agreement with the nursing Unions and employers if there are going to be changes made to hours and conditions. What does your contract say. Try the RCN if the RCM can't help or perhaps the NMC. What does your union rep. say. You have a duty to state that you feel this is unsafe, don't put yourself in the position where you could cause harm to yourself, mums or babies. Outrageous.

missyB1 Thu 19-Oct-17 20:49:28

Not a midwife but this is normal in Endoscopy where we also do on calls. So we could do a ten and half hour day then on call that night, then back in the following morning! I was frequently out on call in the night and expected to be back in at 7.30 the next morning. I was told there are no rules about rest between shifts for nurses!

retirednow Thu 19-Oct-17 20:51:55

I remember reading something about nurses being exempt from the 11hr rule, didn't they say it was worked out over a weeks rota or something. Saying that though you have to be safe, your patients have to be safe and I can't see that contracts can just be changed because they are short-staffed. It would be interesting to know what the Director of Nursing thinks of this idea.

reallybadidea Thu 19-Oct-17 20:55:16

Not a midwife but in my role in the NHS I am regularly on call for 12 hours after a 12 hour shift and sometimes on call for up to 48 hours at a time.

24 hours on call is very common, definitely not illegal.

retirednow Thu 19-Oct-17 20:57:16

I have just googled the RCN site (imagine its the same info for midwives) - go onto their site and look up working hours and breaks. it is very clear what the rules are.

mayhew Thu 19-Oct-17 21:03:52

It's outrageous and unsafe. Unfortunately, so many NHS staff sigh and accept this, that it makes those who resist get labelled as difficult.
Of course if you make a mistake due to exhaustion, then that will be all your fault and management will hang you out to dry.

retirednow Thu 19-Oct-17 21:07:27

There are rules about breaks for nurses, this is something you all need to look at. I always thought it didn't apply but it does. It's so easy to just say okay I'll work through my break, stay late, come in early, work extra shifts. Like mayhew rightly says, they will hang you out if you agree to extra work and make a mistake.

Star141 Thu 19-Oct-17 21:42:19

Not a midwife or anything related but this is awful! Who would want a midwife delivering their baby who had been up potentially for 20 hours?

WitchesHatRim Thu 19-Oct-17 21:44:37

remember reading something about nurses being exempt from the 11 hour rule

Not just nurses. Any profession can be.

FruitCider Thu 19-Oct-17 21:47:33

I’m a charge nurse, I work 3 13.5 hour shifts back to back and I’m on call in between each one, however if I’m called out then I do work my next day shift.

retirednow Thu 19-Oct-17 21:50:49

Goodness, I didn't think you could work three long days together.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 19-Oct-17 21:54:52

Yes. 8 hour shift all day. Finish anywhere between 5-6pm. On call from 5pm. Can be called out any time of the night. Not unusual to e called out 2/3am to come into labour ward and work. Then have to carry on with clinics, home visits etc at 9am. Though they will try and let us finish mid afternoon.

But if we had a car accident and killed someone I think we'd be in so much trouble. Makes me think of the man who had only had a few hours sleep and crashed his car onto the train line years ago at Selby and killed all those people. He went to prison for years!

And of course making mistakes at work!

retirednow Thu 19-Oct-17 22:03:58

And killing yourself in a car crash or making yourself unwell. How good of them to let you go home mid afternoon. No health professional wants to make a mistake.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 19-Oct-17 22:07:48

You're only allowed home mid afternoon if all the visits have been done mind.

So it's possible to be get up at 6am Monday morning, work all day Monday, all Monday night and all day Tuesday. Sleep Tuesday night back to work on Weds morning.

noodleaddict Thu 19-Oct-17 23:08:49

My last trust used to do this. Not a midwife but a specialist nurse. People went along with it because otherwise the on calls would have to be done on their 'days off'. Even as it was you could end up working 12-8am on a 'day off', so effectively still a full day. Don't know how they got away with it tbh. I would never work anywhere with an on call again.

noodleaddict Thu 19-Oct-17 23:11:50

How do your colleagues feel about it? I'd suggest you get together and raise it as a concern about being safe to practice before it starts and becomes accepted/part of your unit's culture.

BarbaraOcumbungles Thu 19-Oct-17 23:18:33

My husband does these sort of shifts but he works for a telecoms company and is,responsible for servers etc, not lives. No one in their right mind would want to be treated by a medical professional who had been up for 24+ hrs? Is it really normal? Are nurses and drs aren't up in arms about it? Surely they are getting sued left right and centre? It cannot be safe!

retirednow Thu 19-Oct-17 23:24:38

Good advice from noodleaddict.

mayhew Fri 20-Oct-17 07:58:23

I took early retirement for this sort of thing. I now only work on the bank in order to have some control and avoid dangerous working conditions.
The Royal College of Midwives, as a union, has been utterly feeble on this matter.

retirednow Fri 20-Oct-17 11:13:16

I left the NHS, they wanted to change our hours and kept moving us to other wards 'transferable skills', what's the point in doing all those specialist courses. Unison were more pro actives. HR and occy health got involved who did listen.

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