Monday, 13 December 2010


Get a load of this.
Health campaigners have responded angrily to a suggestion from an NHS boss that staff could “donate” a portion of their annual leave as part of an effort to save £30m.  In a staff bulletin, Epsom and St Helier Trust chief executive Samantha Jones said that employees could play an important role in helping to save the money in the current financial year.
She wrote: “A number of you have said that you would be willing to sacrifice some of your annual leave allowance and come to work instead.“It might seem obvious, but each and every single day off in the organisation costs the Trust money. This is particularly true if a member of bank or agency staff has to be hired to cover for your post.
“I fully support this idea, and in fact I have decided to work on one of my annual leave days. If everybody agreed to work just one annual leave day, it would make a significant contribution in helping to achieve our goal.” Ms Jones explained that in many NHS trusts, staff were agreeing to reduce their contracted hours between now and the end of the financial year, in return for an appropriate reduction in pay

Militant medical nurse says no.  The last shift I worked was 12 hours long.  They deducted an hours worth of pay for a break that I could not take without risking patient safety.  Then I had to stay over another 2 hours unpaid to complete all the paperwork.  It's a legality.  But if I tried to do it during my shifts patients and visitors would accuse me of neglecting patients.  So I waited until I handed over to the night nurse and then I completed it.
Nurse's already work a lot of unpaid hours.  Even when we stay over late unpaid we still cannot accomplish everything.  On most days I hand over a list of patient needs that I never got to sort out to the next Nurse.  Chances are that she won't be able to do any better. Same with the next shift. And before you know it a patient waits three days before that sore they asked someone to look at is actually seen.
Last weekend I was asked to work an 8 hour shift because they only had one RN on the ward.  I felt bad for her.  I felt bad for the patients. So I went in.  It ended up being 10 hours with no break. And I WILL NOT be getting paid for any of that. I am supposed to take the time back as "time owing".  This is something I will not be able to do because the ward is short staffed and busy.  I will never get paid for those hours or get them back.   My childminder is getting paid for watching the kids for me during those hours! 
Never again will I pull an extra shift.
  No they are not getting anymore out of me. They need to find other ways of saving money.  

I like this suggestion from one of the commentators on the article:

If I was paid a decent wage for the work I do and was paid overtime for all the time I stay late then I might agree that it was a possibility. However I am not, so ask the CEO or your countless operations managers or a modern matron or 2 or 3 if they can help you out



murse said...

I humbly invite 'Samantha Jones' to bite my fucking arse.

suedavies18 said...

I hear nurses saying what you have written every week. The NHS is held together by the unpaid work and un-taken meal breaks.... and the desire not to let the patients down.

How dare this exec ask for still more from nurses!! You are unquestionably the worst managed and most unprotected of the professions ... Could it possibly be because a majority of nurses are women?

Mark said...

These fucktard managers should piss off back to their gilded ivory towers.
Why the hell can't the RCN "grow a pair". This abuse, of no breaks and the time owing con, has been going on for as long as I can remember, and I've been retired for 6 years.

ex RN

Dino-nurse said...

Its about time that nurses everywhere had a day of to the letter of your contract. Take your breaks, start and leave on time, stop doing all the little extra bits that are not actually nursing jobs. No trips or phonecalls to pharmacy for the docs, no acting as phlebos to speed things up, no trips to blood bank, no answering of phones if the ward clerk is away from his/her desk, no filling out forms other than nursing documentation... We could set a date- say the upcoming royal wedding. As many departments will be shut anyway, this will make the point that even emergency extras cannot be done safely due to lack of staff. Thats one day over 4 months away. Enough notice for trusts to book the agency staff to ensure patient safety (if they don't we cannot be blamed). Its worked in other countries and if done correctly cannot be deemed as illegal. Its not a strike, its a work to rule. I'm pretty sure that we would only need to do it once- the costs of agency would be astronomical across the board. Any pressure applied to clinical managers should be leaked to the press so that joe public can see just what sort of organisation the NHS has become.

Holden McGroin said...

Dino-Nurse, you have my total support. Personally, I would do this in a second.

In the Trust I work for...actually, lets name and shame seeing as I haven't given my real name for fear of the winged monkeys...

At Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, around two tears ago they downbanded all band 6 staff nurses to band 5 in the surgical directorate. Just the surgical directorate. At the same time, they rewrote the band 5 job description to incorporate band 6 roles. So, do the same job for £3k less. Fucking idiots.

The RCN balloted their members with about willingness to take industrial action of the nature you describe. I am relaibly informed that the result was roughtly 70% in favour...but the absolutely impotent RCN decided that this was not decisive enough, so politely pulled down their panties and waited for Big Poppa Pump.

Their latest brainwave is that even though staff work a 14 hour shift, they will only be paid for 12.5, and are expected to take 90 mins worth of breaks during the day. When? When would you like us to do that?

the a&e charge nurse said...

"Its about time that nurses everywhere had a day of to the letter of your contract. Take your breaks, start and leave on time, stop doing all the little extra bits that are not actually nursing jobs" - but that would require solidarity, and solidarity has always proved a stumbling block with nurses?

Lets face it - nurses could have forced the issue long before now rather than endlessly papering over the cracks - the fact that we haven't says something about our mindset?

What astonishes me is how many nurses STILL lack insight into how they are unwittingly propping up a dysfunctional system - perhaps they do have insight but simply feel too isolated and powerless to try and make a difference?

The main reason why the NHS has not completely imploded is because of the dedication and skill of it's nurses -especially those who are almost single handedly running our chronically understaffed and pressurised hospital wards.

almost retired nurse said...

I am a 55 year old Nurse and about to retire, and am glad to because I am so pissed off with the way the NHS is going. I was around in the "winter of discontent" in the late 1970's when we couldn't strike but supported the Miners and Firemen who did so on our behalf. I also worked to grade in 1989 and got our night nurses upgraded as a result, leaving the RCN in order to do so.
I rejoined the RCN and have to say I have found them utterly useless, they do not support Nurses in any way, either nationally or at local level. We do need a day of action, and we need to show the country and government what we actually do, and that we do work extra unpaid hours in order to care for our patients. As a ward sister I regularly worked 14 hour days to cover shifts
I wish you all good luck, I am so glad to be retiring.

Anonymous said...

Our union rep (unison) is shagging the cheif exec.

Yeah she is going to be helpful.

And yet the public says..."Well what have you nurses done about the situation"?

Anyone who asks that question should be kicked in the groin. Repeatedly.

uknurse said...

As for 'working to rule' for a day...the only people that would suffer from that where I work would be the patients and my colleagues!

They have us over a barrell...and the useless RCN don't give a damn.

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NorthernTeacher said...

Absolutely no way should you give up time or pay for your bosses! If they want to do that, that's their choice but you won't gain from it yourselves. Any saving for the NHS will be swallowed up and no one will really see any benefit. You will lose out and such action will be expected again.

Dino-nurse said...

The idea of a work to rule day would only work if it was done nationally. Thats why I suggested the royal wedding...might get some press coverage just as an aside...then again I'm sure the day will be full of sycophants gushing away.
How about picking Cameroons birthday? Or a date relevent to the Consevative party? Or National Nurses day?
As long as management know what is happening they cannot bleat about uncaring nurses. I'm sure that other clinical staff would understand as they are also underpaid and unappreciated. I too stood on the picket lines to support firemen etc on my days off way back when. Industrial action can work, it just needs a bit of foreward planning. I also gave up with the RCN moons ago.

Nurse Anne said...

I kind of disagree with you all on a day of action where Nurses refuse to do everyone else's jobs.

If I didn't chase pharmacy, run down their multiple times a day and do what equipment library wants then patients wouldn't get what they need...and as always Nursing would get the blame.

I was telling my husband how the phone rings off the hook on the ward. I explained that there is no one to answer the phone except for the 4 staff at the other end of the ward working on 30 patients. I also explained that the patients get hurt because the Nurses are having to abandon them constantly to answer the phone.

"Simple" he said. "Stop leaving you patients to answer the phone. Then management will be forced to give you a ward clerk"

So this is what we did. The next day I was on a long day and at 6Pm when 4 of us (two nurses and two carers) were trying to feed 30 patients and deal with everything else the phone began ringing and ringing and ringing. And we ignored it. And the patients were taken care of.

Twenty minutes later the bed manager came screaching onto the ward sreaming at us because two relatives complained officially that we did not pick up the phone when they called to ask about their loved ones. When we didn't answer the phone these relatives apparantly called PALS and ripped a new asshole.

That is when I realised that the public thinks we have people who can answer the phone...or they think that we can actually answer all those phone calls without harming patients.

We were told if we ever pull that shit again (not answering the phone because we are caring for patients) we will be suspended.

Having trained in a country where we always had 3 day time and 2 evening ward clerks that manned the phones and protected the Nurses from unecessary interruptions; I found this hard to take.

You wouldn't believe how many relatives ring constantly and expect instant access to the Nurse. They don't show one iota for consideration for her patients.

the a&e charge nurse said...

"If I didn't chase pharmacy, run down their multiple times a day and do what equipment library wants then patients wouldn't get what they need.. "

And because we do there is little incentive to change.

We had Stafford and nothing changed.

Put another way - if nurses don't do something about it, who will?

I love Dino's idea of nurses staging something on the day of the royal wedding?

Nurse Anne said...

Charge Nurse they will come down on and punish the Nurses for it.....

Nurse Anne said...

They will have the NMC investigating every single Nurse who participated in something like that. I can just see the distorted headlines "Patients suffer in pain for hours because Nurses refuse to get them their medication!"

No body is going to tell pharmacy to get up off of their fat worthless asses and do their jobs.

Anonymous said...

The nurses should look at their contracts and work to that.
As for Samantha - well she appears to be breathtakingly stupid. Amazing how nurses are expected to work from the goodness of their hearts, whilst for others business principles stand i.e no dough, no show.

Anonymous said...

I don't work as a nurse or for the NHS, but I work at a computer 8hrs a day with an hour's lunch with time off for any extra hours I do. I don't think I could cope working as nurses have to for 14hrs with no break, on my feet the whole day. And now my local hospital is asking even more of nurses who have already given up a lot of their own time!

I did have another publicity idea but I'm not sure it will work that well: get a national group of nurses to present the bill to No.10 for all the extra hours every nurse in the country has done every week, accruing interest at a commercial rate on these bills as they go unpaid. This is also sent to all the newspapers. Then let's see how long it takes for someone to take notice.

Kristina said...

These execs should find other options other than drying out the nurses. I do not understand why they can't hire more nurses instead of assistants!!! Health care is one of the most profitable industry and we are taking thousands of $$ per patient. Enough is enough!

m said...

I wonder if your dedication isn't just as likely to harm patients in the long run?

They run you into the ground, the grave or overseas and who replaces you? Someone less well trained and less dedicated. Soon the only ones left can't do the job or don't care about the job. The long term damage could be worse than the short -term consequences of taking action.

Dino-nurse said...

Elective healthcare is profitable...treatment of acute illness, trauma and chronic (mainly medical) conditions is not. Neither is care of the elderly. All these are labout intensive and hence fairly costly. I keep quoting figures for ICU on the ICu equals £3000 per patient. Too many patients per RN on general wards leads to an increase in ICu admissions for sepsis, chest infections says WHAT??? Sadly, its cheaper to reduce trained staff in medical areas to prop up elective surgery and keep your fingers crossed...many elderly patients who deteriorate and need ICU treatment are often too far gone to help so thats saving a bit of money...

GrumpyRN said...

Anne, I am a bit late to this but I think you are missing the point.
If you do not answer the phone - so what - the phone does not get answered, take it off the hook. If management scream at you then this is bullying and harrassment. So what if you are disciplined? You do not have to accept it and your union should fight it. If they won't then leave them and tell them why and join Unison (I am RCN so not recruiting) they will fight for you. If local RCN are not up to the job then go regional or even national. But bottom line, management can discipline you all they like but in order to sack you they have to have a reason and they must be able to justify that reason to an industrial tribunal and if you turn up with lots of documented evidence management are on a very sticky wicket.
I'm afraid that over the years I have observed nursing doing what it is told because doing anything else 'endagers patients'. This is shit and needs to be stamped on, overworked unappreciated nurses endager patients lives. In my own area our staff nurses have had problems with our management, I have repeatedly told them what to do - mass grievance, united front, etc. - as I grew up in the building trade and industry and am aware of the power of a proper unionised and organised workforce but it never happens. The staff are far happier moaning and groaning individually and playing the martyr card.

Nurse Anne said...


Believe me. We are not killing ourselves to answer the phone. Let them bitch.

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