A significant number of staff involved in delivering around the clock care in healthcare environments are shift workers.
While patients are outside of the scope of this document, they are reliant on a workforce dedicated to providing out-of-hours care. Shift work has many benefits for the employee. It allows employees to condense their working time to improve work-life balance and to manage carer responsibilities for instance. However, poorly designed shift patterns, aligned with poor sleep patterns and environmental factors can have a detrimental impact on employee health and patient outcomes.
Poorly managed shift patterns can, for example, increase sickness absence rates, presenteeism, increased at work errors and patient safety incidents, and associated costs. Therefore, it is important to ensure that safeguards are put in place to support safe working practice around shift working.
The guidance explores:
- how shift work can impact on health, safety and wellbeing
- what can employers and employees do
- the importance of partnership working on shift working patterns.
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