Friday, 14 January 2011

No unsocial hours pay.

I just received a worrying email.  I have promised the author that I will not give out the details of his/her trust location. 

The trust that this person works for as a Nurse is trying to stop unsocial hours pay.  The pay rate for nights, days, weekends etc will all be the same basic rate.

The unions are getting involved but if Nurses cannot strike how much power will they have to really fight it?

If this goes through in one trust it will go happen in others.

All staff Nurses work a mix of day shift, night shift, weekday shifts and weekend shifts every single month.  Currently they get paid a slightly higher rate for working unsocial hours.

Our shifts are different every week.  We work on no kind of pattern . The working week goes something like this for a staff nurse.. 

Monday 7AM to 3 PM.
Tuesday  2PM to 10 PM
Wednesday 7AM to 3PM.
Thursday day off. 
Friday 8PM to 9AM saturday morning.
Saturday off.
 Sunday 7AM to 3 PM.

The following week:

Tuesday 8PM to 9 AM
Wednesday 8 PM to 9AM
Thursday off
Friday 7AM to 9PM.

Ridiculous isn't it. My body clock is messed up.  Every week has that kind of mix of shifts. But the fact that we get a slightly higher rate for doing nights keeps my monthly wage at a certain level.

If this goes through they will see their wages fall by hundreds of pounds a month.  I know I would.  I do lots of nights and weekends.  And there is no opting out of them even if they refuse to pay unsocial hours.

This is not a good thing to happen at a time when cost of living is skyrocketing.

More staff nurses will quit.  Hospitals are having to close beds because of lack of staff.   That is how extreme the nursing shortage (which results from nurses refusing to work at the bedside because of poor conditions) is getting.  The staffing has become so bad that even management knows that the situation is bad.  Usually they will just keep beds open and make 2 RN's take 30 patients and then 6 more admissions.  But when the best you can get is one RN for 36 beds then beds close.

Lets hope that the plan to cut unsocial hours pay is all talk.


cellar_door said...

The only thing keeping a lot of people working on the wards is the unsocial hours payments. If I'm going to lose that, I'll be looking for a 9-5 job, because I might as well do the 'easier' job for the same money.


Nurse Anne said...

Do you think they could actually get away with this cellar door. I don't want to believe that they can.

But I also will not support a strike. I know that makes me sound like a loser who deserves bad working conditions but I really can't bear to see the patients get fucked over any more than they already are. They have been taxed to pay for care all their lives! How can we walk out on them en mass?

Anonymous said...

My job is all the more bearable for unsocial hours pay - it makes up nearly a 1/4 of my pay packet! And something I can't do without!

If they stop it, then as much as I am proud of working for the NHS, I'm off to be a tube driver and go on strike whenever bloody I feel like it.

Nurse Anne said...

Someone at work was telling me that her partner is a train conductor and he is on 30,000 after taxes and they get loads of overtime on top of it. And they are bored at work. Might be something to look into.

Dino-nurse said...

The patients are already being f*cked over Anne. One RN to care for so many means the majority on a medical ward get ignored as the RN has to look to the sickest. I still think that if a national strike were planned, it would never have to go ahead. If a date and time were set then government would have to take notice. It wouldn't have to effect frontline emergency care- it would start at 8am with no nurses for outpatients, walk-in centres, elective/daycase units and other low dependancy areas. This would progress during the day to a refusal to work through breaks by all nursing staff and a "work to rule". I doubt that it would get past the first 5 minutes before trusts and governments gave in. It will only work if the unions do their jobs and fork out to run commercials during Coronation Street and Eastenders style shows pointing out what an NHS ward is really like and setting an ultimatum this way. its worked for other countries, so why not here?

pj said...

Well, after the pay freeze and the increment freeze it was only a matter of time before they brought in a pay cut. If they cut nurses' pay people will start abandoning ship surely?

Nursing Student said...

WTF? I don't want to think they can do this but what if they do? They will struggle to staff the hospital at night because nobody will want to work those hours for the pay. A potentially dangerous, under-staffed and unsuported working environment as it is now ( and in the day alone) becomes lethal at night. Before Dr Crippen bailed I remember one of his posts about how hospitals are becoming incresingly more dangerous for patients at night because of the lack of medical staff and on-site support, and now this. On my old stroke ward placement the majority of the drama went down in the night, as I assume is the case with most acute environments.

My local prison has 2 RN's at the least, working during the day. This increases depending on what is on at the health centre (different clinics, doctor visitations) but there is ALWAYS 2/3 Nurses on at night without fail. Why? Because the majority of shit goes down in the PM.

As much as I love my profession, I woulden't work for peanuts (AKA day shift rate) for night work. Ever. Nor would I give up a fricking day leave or whatever stupid ideas they will come up with.

Hmmm, maybe I will become a meteorologist like my partner. Good pay, won't get struck off and ruin my entire life over a simple mistake as mistakes are inevitable and accepted in that profession, and I get to sit on my bum all day. Bliss.

Nurse Anne said...

Funny you mention that Nursing student.

I love meteorology. Did it as an advanced placement/uni course in school.

I was a science geek/dork in High school. We had a morning news show that senior students anchored every morning. It was channeled into every homeroom's TV on a school network think.

I was the weather anchor and I had to use my own readings etc to present on the show.

Got a rep for being more correct than the local news station. LOL.

Go for it!!

Whatever possesed to leave earth sciences behind and take an interest in biological sciences and then pursue nursing because I wanted to "help people" was spawned of the devil.

Meteorology is fun. Geek is the new cool didn't you know.....

uknurse said...

Working nights takes years off your life, and working evenings and weekends takes years out of your family time. Unsociable pay goes some way to compensate for this. If this pay is stopped, I am outta here.

Nursing Student said...

There we have it then Anne, lets go now to Meteorology school and never look back!

In regards to what uknurse said. Nights ruin you, totally. I worked so many nights in the A&E a few years back in winter time and was so accustomed to night time my eyes hurt when I eventually broke the cycle and went to days and had to leave the house during sun hours! I'm pale/gaunt-looking the best of days too, and never looked very well after a stint on nights. Never again if the pay isn't worth it.

Anonymous said...

Crazy. The thing I don't understand is this:

1. The NHS receives *HUGE* amounts of taxpayer money.

2. It is the 3rd largest employer in the World, after the Chinese Army and the Indian National Railways.

3. People like you on the front line are overworked and under resourced.

4. My own experience of the NHS has shown me examples of incompetent and top-heavy management, but my question is; where does the money go?

We need an NHS focused equivalent of Wat Tyler, the ex "Burning Our Money" blogger to unravel the leakage. Somebody with the insight, understanding and financial knowledge to assess the Emperor's clothing. Can you recruit such a spin-off?


Garth Marenghi said...

it's probably of no consolation but junior doctors get no extra pay for antisocial hours

i currently work one in two weekends and get no more pay that if these hours were just daylight monday to friday hours

Nurse Anne said...

That is disgusting Gareth.

And I know that the salaries of many junior doctors are lower than that of senior nurses. Which means that it is lower than that of a teacher, train conductor,binman, dog groomer. Makes me sick.

The cadets do not get paid unsocial hours either yet are still forced to work nights.

Sue said...

They have threatened this at our trust. We have all said if this happens, we will be gone.

I do think that we *could* strike without endangering patient care- we could just refuse to answer phones or anything not patient care related. Not that management would care. They know we will not just walk out of a shift (and if we did, they would just report the RNs to the NMC). Can you imagine the field day the papers would have with a nursing strike?

Nurse Anne said...

Yes Sue I can see the daily fail headlines now.

"Lazy overeducated nurses who leave patients starving to death in their own waste and smack grannies around go on strike because they think that they deserve to get paid"

Nurse Anne said...

And the daily fail headline below that one would be.

"Lovely angelic perfect beautiful midwives are struggling to care for too many patients as a result of NHS cuts. We support them in their strike to get paid and have safe staffing levels".

Dino-nurse said...

The type of idiots that read the Daily Fail already think we are too posh to wash so I doubt that they would think any less of us for striking.
If the unions organised things properly, ran adverts like the australian nurses are doing, played some of the YouTube footage from the US that you've posted at PrimeTime...we might actually get a bit of support. The worried well would certainly be behind us. We need to make people see that this really is their last chance to keep a free service. If the tories get their way we will all be social enterprises and there are only so many trusts that will be able to stay afloat. Do we really want a system thats run by charities or the church? How unbiased will they be?

pj said...

"it's probably of no consolation but junior doctors get no extra pay for antisocial hours"

Yes they do. It is called banding and is given for working hours over something like 40hrs and for working antisocial hours. I get it. Are you making a more complicated argument than that? Because I doubt very much you receive base rate pay if you're working one-in-two weekends and you work in the NHS.

I think the difference between nurses and doctors is that nurses are paid per hour and so can get overtime or unsocial hours rates while doctors are salaried and get a flat percentage supplement based on their rostered hours.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with dino nurse, there is no reason why nurses could not go on strike in the way she suggested. in the early 80'S nurses went on strike at the london hospital i worked at for aprox 4 days, I remember standing on a picket line outside the hospital gates and recieving a huge amount of support from the public. We ensured there was a skelaton staff on each ward and had a picket line rota so patients did not suffer. we also worked to rule so actually took our breaks ect. it is possible totake action without endangering patients if all staff work together and support each other this means those nursesw who will not take direct action supporting those that are willing too.

Anonymous said...

how much is the unsocial hours payment ?

Anonymous said...

"Lovely angelic perfect beautiful midwives are struggling to care for too many patients as a result of NHS cuts. We support them in their strike to get paid and have safe staffing levels".

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