Friday, 8 October 2010

Holy Shit

Not content with forcing RNs to take on more patients than they can handle, recruitment freezes, pay freezes,  and hellish working conditions that would cause most people to collapse from sheer fucking exhaustion the powers that be have come up with a new plan.

Already the working conditions are so chaotic that it is usually impossible for the RN's on my type of ward to take breaks.  We stay over late at the end of a 12 hour shift unpaid and still cannot manage to keep up with paperwork. We do the jobs of pharmacy, portering, social services etc and are held accountable for their faults.

But I guess that is just not enough.  I will post the entire article here.

Nurses told to work for free to save their jobs

By Ryan Crighton and Catriona Webster
Published: 06/10/2010

Nurses are being asked to work extra shifts for free to save their jobs – as health boards across Scotland spend up to £30million hiring agency staff. Almost 4,000 NHS jobs, including more than 1,500 nursing and midwifery posts, will be axed this year due to cutbacks, according to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon.
But last night it emerged that the country’s 14 health boards have set aside a combined £30million for temporary nurses and theatre staff over the next four years.
NHS Grampian hopes to save £385,000 by asking staff at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary’s surgical unit to take on one more shift each month – for no extra money.

The agency staff contract, which has just been awarded, will see nine firms provide workers to fill staffing gaps as health boards – including NHS Tayside and NHS Highland – deal with the spending crisis in the public sector.

The contract will last for two years, with the option of extending it for two more.

Last night the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland raised fears that the deal could reverse efforts to cut reliance on agency workers.

RCN associate director Norman Provan said: “Nursing teams have led the way in recent years by changing the way in which their work is managed so that reliance on costly agency staff has been reduced. As health boards cut costs by not replacing staff when they leave, we will be monitoring them to ensure they do not reverse the trend of recent years and begin relying too heavily on agency nursing to fill the gaps.

“If health boards do realise that they need to fill the gaps created by their unsustainable cost-cutting tactics, they must recruit additional permanent staff in the best interests of patient care.”

Labour shadow cabinet member Richard Baker added: “It looks like different parts of the NHS are not talking to each other. When NHS Scotland is spending £30million on a contract to provide agency nurses it seems ridic-ulous that NHS Grampian is asking their nurses to work an extra shift for nothing.”

An Aberdeen company is one of the nine firms which will share the contract. H1 Healthcare Solutions – which trades as PCSG Healthcare – said it could take on up to 250 health workers during the duration of the deal.

An NHS Scotland spokes-man said the contract replaced an agreement which was about to expire. He said the number of agency nurses being used was falling, and that trend would continue.

He added: “Whilst agencies will always have a role in providing supplementary staff, this only supplements internal efforts to meet the staffing requirements.”

The RCN has also voiced concerns about NHS Grampian’s plans to share an extra 188 12-hour shifts between its nurses. It is understood that nurses in the surgical unit at ARI would receive an extra 15 minutes unpaid break per day to compensate for the extra shift.

One angry ARI nurse, who did not want to be named, said: “Everyone is unhappy about these changes. We’ve been asked to meetings but the feeling is: if we contest it, they won’t care. We’ve been given 90 days to comply.

“They are trying to save money but the added pressure is all on the nurses, it’s coming out of our pockets. We are being asked to work for nothing.”

Another said: “The thing the nurses are worried about is patient care. We already have skeleton staffs because of the recruitment freeze, so we don’t get our breaks.”

Colin Poolman, the RCN’s local officer for Grampian, said members were furious about the plans. “This change in working arrangements is clearly to the detriment of our hard-working and over-stretched members who are bearing the brunt of the cuts being made by NHS Grampian,” he said.

Tory health spokeswoman and Highland MSP Mary Scanlon said the plans were the first time she had ever heard of a public body asking staff to work for free.

A spokesman for NHS Grampian said the measures will help secure jobs.

He said: “The proposal is to move from 13 to 14 shifts in a month in the surgical one division of ARI. It will potentially save £385,000 which is very important in the current financial climate. The alternative would be to employ fewer staff.”

The fuckers can have my job.  Fuck them.  I'd also like to point out something.  When we do get agency Nurses in from the outside it is a disaster.  A Nurse simply cannot handle taking on a massive patient load on an acute ward unless she is there all the time.  It is like running.  If you stop training for that marathon, you just won't be able to keep up.  We have had a few disasters lately at my trust because of agency Nurses getting thrown in as the only qualified.

Meanwhile back in my neck of the woods the matrons are threatening ward staff nurses with sacking if we  don't get our fingers out and make sure that the insane amounts of ridiculous paperwork is completed.  According to them, any bad care that occurs is a result of Nurses not doing paperwork. 

I recently had a patient fall out of bed.  I wasn't  watching him at the time because I had two other bays of patients and a side room.  I was also running around the hospital looking for the "bed rail assessment" paperwork forms to fill in for him so that I don't get sacked.  You would think that if they want us to fill in these forms like they are holy then they would provide each ward with enough of the actual forms.

When one of my colleagues didn't complete her paperwork because there was none on the ward she was told that she should have left her patients and searched the other wards in the hospital.  Not something that one can do if she is the only RN for 15 patients.

What are we?  Fucking Slaves?  The government is cutting pay, cutting jobs, and cutting benefits for people from whom they take the pay and jobs.  I suppose soon they will be counting us as 3/5 of a human being and loaning us Nurses out to work for other trusts  for a fee.  And they will line their pockets with that fee.

Oh Massa Oh Massa...please don't send me down da river to work  staff'dshire. Please Massa, I dun bin a good Nursie, don't send me down da river. Don't separate me from my man and my little chilluns Massa.  Oh Lord Jesus Massa hasn't I dun bin a good Nursie yes I has Massa. Oh jesus oh jesus

Seriously guys if they get away with this shit things are going to SNOWBALL. It seems like we won't be eating if we don't put up with slave like conditions, and having recently worked a 14 hour shift without being able to take a break I am really feeling a bit like I am not considered fully human.  Maybe just 3/5 of one.
Thanks to grumpyRN for alerting me to this story anyway.


GrumpyRN said...

Thank you Anne, you have given this a bigger circulation than I can. Hopefully between us it will get picked up and this nonsense will be stopped.
I would like to add, I don't work in Aberdeen or for NHS Grampian but I find this shit appalling and think if it catches on then where will they do it next?

Nurse Anne said...

Thanks Grumpy. I'll be shutting this blog down for a few weeks soon. But I just couldn't resist posting about this article. Many trusts are considering the same action you know.

Anonymous said...

Glad you are back Anne.
Your blog provides such a useful source of information and comment. While horrified, I feel committed to making sure nursing staff I come across are trested fairly...that seems all I can do as a regular member of the public.

Anonymous said...

Good to have you back Anne, even if only briefly :)

Our powers that be have a cunning plan . . . currently we work 7.5 hour shifts. They plan to cut that to 7 hours by cutting handover periods and then we can work an extra day or three a month for all those .5 hours they have "saved"

nurse armadillo

Nurse Anne said...

They want us to hand over 35 patients to the next shift in 15 minutes as well. And they won't do anything about the constant interruptions via phone, relatives, visitors, doctors, pharmacy, patients etc either.

What they could do is give us more nurses so we are each handing over a smaller number of patients or at least give us a ward clerk at handover times to deal with the constant ringing phone that the care assistants won't answer.....but noooooooooooo

Nurse Anne said...

Also it just means we are working more unpaid time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anne
Sounds like very DIM management here - let's hope they are their legal departments are aware of this ridiculous proposal.
This has been mooted in the past - a decade or so ago and never got anywhere. A few factors for a brain dead management numpty/ies is to consider eg nurses have mortgages to pay, petrol + child care costs + any other costs, 2 days extra off in lieu.
They can ask but there generally is nowt for nowt.
Glad your back.

Anonymous said...

typos sorry it's late. Glad you're back

Guzzo said...

What are we? Fucking Slaves?

If you're stupid enough to put up with it, put patient's health at risk, and jeopardize your license.. then yes, you are a fucking slave.

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