Fife nursing bank staff ‘left without shifts for weeks’

Nurses in Fife are being left without any work or income because the NHS hasn’t offered them any shifts for weeks.

Monday, 11th May 2020, 7:30 am
Picture: John Devlin

NHS Fife’s nurse bank is normally used to bring in casual staff to help the health service plug any staffing gaps and keep things running.

However, one nurse has told the Press how shifts have dried up, meaning that casual workers have been left out of work.

The nurse, who did not wish to be named, said: “I haven’t been able to book a shift. On April 17 I overheard that no more shifts were to be put out to the bank with immediate effect, due to the redeployment of staff from other departments that had closed down.

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“They’re covering the shifts that would have otherwise been sent over to the bank.

“The nurse bank uses an online portal now, so any shifts get set over, the nursing staff log on and see what shifts are available so they can choose what shifts are available when and where. But there’s been nothing on it.

“Working on the bank’s my only job, so there are a lot of staff who are healthcare support workers or nurses where this is their main job.

“I’ve raised the question of being furloughed but I’m told that the business has to be closed before that can happen.”

The lack of shifts has left many people without any income.

The nurse added: “The staff won’t get any shifts so they won’t get any money.

“I’m in limbo. I don’t know how long this is going to go on for. I want to work, I’m desperate to work.”

One email offered the possibility of more shifts, but the hope was short-lived.

The nurse said: “We got an email saying to contact the communities team that had been set up, to get us working in the community hospitals instead, which I did, and I was told to just go back and look at the nurse bank online system.

“They just redirected us back to square one.”

Helen Buchanan, NHS Fife’s director of nursing,, said: “Our nurse bank is used widely and continues to be an important resource as we respond to covid-19 in the Kingdom.

“We need to ensure our nurse bank resource is assigned to areas of greatest need to sustain essential service delivery. As we have stepped down our non-essential services, some of our registered nursing staff with recent experience within acute services have been redeployed appropriately to support our frontline.

“We continue to have a variety of shifts and temporary contracts available on our nurse bank for registered nurses and supporting staff.

“We would welcome any of the nurses on our staff bank to get in touch so that we can make use of their skills and experience over the coming weeks and months.”