RCN calls for nurses rights

The RCN
call
ed for more flexible working, greater consultation with staff
and a safer working environment
for nurses following the publication of research that
reveals that 50 per cent of
NHS nurses have no
access to family-friendly working and a significant proportion are suffering
from poor psychological and physical health.

A
survey of 6,000 nurses by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) finds that many
staff have no access to arrangements such as childcare, self-rostering,
flexible working or dependants’ leave.

The
poll reveals that the majority nurses are offered only the very basic elements
of work-life balance
inititiatives, despite two thirds
having children or dependents to care for.

It
also claims that 25 per cent of nurses do
not have a staff room or an area in which to take breaks.

More
than 10 per cent of respondents display signs of poor psychological health,
with symptoms including depression and anxiety leading to increased sickness
absence.

The
RCN claims this type of illness is linked to bullying and harassment.
Nearly
a third of nurses on long-term sick leave report that they experienced bullying
while only 53 per cent received counselling for psychological problems.

Tracy
Myhill, president of the Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management,
believes the situation has improved significantly in the year since the survey
was carried out.

“In
general terms I can’t disagree with the recommendations and I’m sure that
picture would be very different today. Over the last few years there has been
huge emphasis on flexible working after pressure from the Government,” she said.

“There’s
top
level commitment to improving these things but the blockage
to this is often at middle management level. HR needs to help line managers to
implement changes and there’s been an emphasis on a policy framework to help
achieve this.”

www.rcn.org.uk

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