Shift Work and working hours
Working Time Regulations
The Working Time Regulations 1998 apply to nurses and health care assistants in the independent and public sector. The RCN has raised concerns around issues such as on-call and compensatory rest and the impact that fatigue, long working hours and lack of rest can have on both patient safety and that of the nurse or health care assistant. The RCN is involved in discussions at a UK and European level to review the directive.
Information on the working time regulations can be found at www.direct.gov.uk
Section 27 of the NHS terms and conditions of service handbook contains the agreement on implementation of the working time regulation within the NHS. It can be accessed at www.nhsemployers.org
Shift work and health
At RCN Congress 2011 the RCN UK Safety Representatives Committee hosted a fringe event on the health and wellbeing of night shift workers. The fringe event looked at the responsibilities of employers to protect shift workers. The fringe event also discussed the report from the International Agency for Cancer Research linking breast cancer to shift work. The RCN UK Safety Representatives Committee will be carrying out further work on shift work and health and developing guidance for members.