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United effort leads to success of seven-day working project

25 February 2011 - 12:34pm

A seven-day working model has been successfully piloted at a London hospital.

An extended day and shift system has increased provision of respiratory physiotherapy from an average of 45 to 84 hours per week at St Thomas’.

Consultation and partnership

‘This project was driven by the trust's initiative to improve patient access to services across seven days and secured a front-end investment of £500,000,’ said Jacky Jones, head of physiotherapy at Guys & St Thomas' NHS foundation trust.

‘The implementation of this service model was achieved in full consultation and partnership with staff, who have led the delivery and evaluation of the pilot.’

Ruth Kent, CSP steward and highly specialist physiotherapist, told Frontline: ‘A lot of our members were opposed to the proposal, so working groups were set up looking at on-call, weekend, training and so on.

‘We came up with a counter-proposal that we felt was best for patients but also best for us.

Staff morale

‘It has certainly made a difference to staff morale that the service is based on what we asked for through consultation. While in an ideal world we would prefer not to work weekends and late at night, we were given the opportunity, and were listened to, to work in “our” service.’

Throughout the year-long pilot an ‘issues’ log was kept, based on staff feedback. ‘This meant we had some capacity to fine-tune our service,’ said Ms Kent.

Full involvement of staff

CSP senior negotiating officer Janice Collins said: ‘The main thing is that by working in partnership with the CSP stewards they were able to implement change.’

Claire Sullivan, assistant director of Employment Relations and Union Services, added: ‘It is really good to hear of seven-day working being implemented in this way with the full involvement of the staff affected.

‘Our experience is that seven-day working systems require real investment of both money and time if they are to be successful in a sustained way. Where such investment is forthcoming, they can deliver real benefits to patients.’


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