Worried about leaving the NHS

(16 Posts)
LostMyBroomstick Sat 09-Dec-17 11:01:07

I have worked for the NHS for over 20 years and I am really starting to struggle with the shift patterns and a manager who thinks it is fine to make me work every weekend (almost) when I have 2 school aged children. We also work late shifts and nights in between so this makes me tired and grumpy.

I am not seeing my children at all. It never used to be like this in my department as we used to work 1 in 4 weekends and one late shift a week with no nights. Now it is just so anti-social it is not fair on family life. My husband works shifts also and our parents are RIP.

I have tried to move up and gained top qualifications and marks but the jobs go to someone else (external) and I am sure it is because they are short of my grade. I am more qualified than the manager! Many staff are on sick leave or have been on long term sick and come back to nice, flexi working. Those of us doing the full whack are finding it too much (we have lost 5 of my grade in the last 6 months). Manager is unsympathetic and doesn't see a problem in trying to kill off her staff (she is a childless 30-something who still lives with her parents, on another planet; she also takes lots of nice long weekends off - tags on a Friday - and is always out of the door at 4pm).

I have left before but went back after I missed my old place and colleagues. My other job moved too far away in the end anyway.
I actually love where I work. I am very familiar with the place and have lots of friends but I can't keep working these crazy hours. Everyone band 7 and above works M-F 8-4 only so their life isn't affected at all.
I am worried about leaving and doing something else not just because of starting again and taking a pay cut but that I will miss my old place too much.

I have asked to drop hours but have been refused due to short staffing (I asked in May and, again, recently). My health is starting to suffer.

What would you do? I have worked for the NHS so long I don't know what to d :-(
P.S. going to work again now

OP’s posts: |
BlueButTrue Sat 09-Dec-17 11:09:26

Have you considered getting signed off for a week or so (stress related), and then returning back on the condition your hours are reduced?

A simple Drs note should do the trick.

The hours of NHS work is a sucker sometimes, but I would be reluctant to leave. Purely on a basis of very generous sick pay entitlement/pay out, plus holiday entitlements.

If I were in your shoes OP, I'd get signed off for a couple of weeks, spend it with the kids or something. Then I'd get my Dr to write me a letter explaining I can return with reasonable adjustments to my working hours.

I don't even think you'd need a letter. I believe the sick note you get from a Dr has a tick box option for reduced hours.

I will probably get flamed for this post but sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do smile

Madamswearsalot Sat 09-Dec-17 11:19:27

I assume you're working clinically in an acute setting?

There are several options -

If your health is suffering you could ask for an occ health referral and they can support you by recommending a reduction in weekend working or a set working pattern. The other option here is to look at GP practices - usually you can stay in the pension scheme if that's a concern, though it would break your length of service for redundancy purposes.

look at moving to somewhere like outpatients or day surgery clinics so that you get more standard working hours though you would lose in unsocial hours pay.

Look at vacancies at a different trust in the area for promotion opportunities - though you do say you like where you are, sometimes to be promoted you need to move to where you're not known as 'band 5/6 broomstick'.

Good luck - it's a pretty rotten time to be in the NHS. It's an amazing service but chronic underfunding and consistent increase in use is seriously taking it's toll.

Otterseatpuffinsdontthey Sat 09-Dec-17 11:39:08

Prior to retiring, I worked in clinical setting where there had been an amalgamation of two wards - it was a total nightmare! Could have written a book - example = on a 12 hour shift - being told that it was acceptable to have your lunch at 4 p.m. ( Ward Manager/part-time/3 o'clock finish). Have you considered Staff Bank? If you're concerned about Pension - take advice - Union/RCN/Pensions Department/Professional financial advisor (may be expensive, but worth it). Good Luck

Draylon Sat 09-Dec-17 18:49:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Babyroobs Sat 09-Dec-17 21:25:07

Same problem here . I have worked at least one 12 hour shift every weekend for the past 6 weeks and sometimes 2. I hardly see my school aged kids and as I am fast approaching 50 I struggle with the lifting and general stress of the job. last week 7 out of 13 staff rang in sick. many are on long term sick leave . I too am worried about leaving because of the reasonable pay and NHS pension. Doing any kind of daytime job will wipe off a third of my pay because of losing enhancements. Feeling totally trapped really.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 09-Dec-17 21:28:51

Move ward/dept. If you’re a nurse (guessing you are) can you do a sideways specialist move, clin ed, infection control, get a job as a practice nurse, ent clinic?? Something without the weekends, etc.

I sympathise, I’m out the nhs in 7 more shifts!

RaymondinaReddington Sat 09-Dec-17 21:32:22

Sounds like you are burning out. You have tried to negotiate to make it more manageable. I see a lot of people in the nhs being treated badly and suffering like you. No one will thank you for it or help you while you continue to cope.
I’d recommend seeing your gp and, if they agree you need time off take some time and think.

In the end if you leave the nhs and change your mind you can always go back. For now, sounds like you need something to change. Put yourself first.

tampinfuminragin Sat 09-Dec-17 21:43:17

This is why I left my previous role. Demands were higher, staff were leaving or off sick, refusal to go part time, huge workload and high stress levels.

New job is a substantial pay cut but I'm happy, I'm still earning money and I'm home a lot more to see my son.

Christmascardqueen Sat 09-Dec-17 21:53:41

I stuck to my rotation and was unavailable for additional shifts. do you have to work extra, or like many do you accept calls on your days off and give in?
I've had managers block my transfer requests saying I was "needed" in my current position....
thankfully I did get a good transfer in my last 6 years of work.

jimijack Sat 09-Dec-17 22:15:01

You have to either suck it up, continue working in these unreasonable and awful conditions until either (or probably both) your mental health is so poor that you will end up needing medicating and to be off for months or you hurt your back so badly that you will be out of work permanently anyway.
Or take the plunge, apply to the bench or an agency so you can pick & choose your hours and probably be paid double what you are making now for less hours.

I did this for a year to get my breath reevaluate my work/life balance and have ended up working 2 days a week in the nhs in a lovely job and 2 evenings a week agency in the same place on a semi permanent contract for almost double my nhs pay.
I left behind a band 7 post, full time (upwards of 60 hours a week) to 30 hours, able to pick up & drop kids at school, cook tea and eat with them, be home for bedtime 5 nights a week. It's fab, but was a huge gamble.
Good luck in your decision x

Draylon Sun 10-Dec-17 12:41:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

retirednow Sun 10-Dec-17 13:00:57

Could you leave and join your hospitals nursebank? there would be plenty of work. The staff that are left do have to pick up the slack, work unsocial hours, weekends, nights etc. it's always been difficult to balance home/work. You're lucky that you get alternate weekends off, many jobs I had we ended up working either a Saturday or Sunday every week. Like others have said, go to Occy Health, say you'd love to stay but finding it very stressful, they may request your line manager cut your hours or help you move to a different department. Working for the NHS does have some good points but it does take its toll.

LostMyBroomstick Mon 11-Dec-17 19:11:28


I'm not a nurse but in another health profession. It is difficult for us to move anywhere as most services in other trusts have been centralised. I actually applied for a job a couple of months ago (out of the NHS) and the manager was so impressed that he phoned me up at home and spent over an hour chatting to me. He offered me more money (£10K extra), no weekends and normal office hours. Ideal and it was related to my role but from an IT perspective. The catch was that I would have to travel and stay overnight each week (possibly 3-4 nights) at different locations. So, I withdrew as (a) it would've meant I wouldn't be any further forward with family time and (b) my husband would then struggle with his shift working job if I was away.
I am thinking of trying the CQC or BSI.

My old NHS trust did on-call like that and I it took me an hour in driving to get there and an hour back. It was HARD work and dangerous. I am younger than you are but I found it extremely tough. My arms were like jelly when I was driving - I was so exhausted. We have people who have got out of working nights. They went off sick for 6 months and got the GP/occy health come to some 'arrangement' so they could stop working nights. They are around the same age as you. I think it is ridiculous that staff are expected to do nights once they are over 50. It is definitely going to impact on your health and mental well being. I really wish managers would work the same shifts and then things would change!

OP’s posts: |
Greatballs Mon 11-Dec-17 19:19:39

Ex-NHS radiographer here. Draylon I feel your pain! Out of hours arrangements very much like yours were killing me. I had to change jobs. I was top of band 6, and took a pay cut to work in medical research long days and weekends but no nights).

Hope you work it out somehow; you have my sympathies.

Draylon Thu 14-Dec-17 12:30:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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