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Majority of primary care nurses work overtime

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Over 80 per cent of primary care nurses work overtime as a result of the government's agenda, an exclusive survey by Independent Nurse has revealed.

In a survey of 408 primary care nurses, made up of practice nurses, advanced nurse practitioners, HCAs, health visitors, midwives, school nurses, independent nurses, district nurses and community matrons, 82 per cent said that they regularly worked more than their weekly contracted hours.

Of these nurses, 41 per cent said they worked up to three hours extra per week. Forty per cent said they worked between three to seven hours per week outside of their contracted hours. More than 10 per cent said they worked seven to 10 hours extra, and six per cent said they worked over 10 hours extra in an average week.

Over half of the respondents (54 per cent) said they worked overtime four times a month. Only two per cent were likely to work overtime just once a month.
Increased patient numbers, staff shortages, and more clinically demanding patients were cited as the causes by almost 50 per cent of those working overtime. This is likely a result of the government moving more complex care into community settings.

A high number of the respondents said that admin and patient paperwork were the reasons for them having to work overtime. A few also commented that inadequate management or support increased the number of hours they worked. Unmanageable caseloads and patient numbers were also given as reasons for the nurses working overtime.

An advanced nurse practitioner said: 'paperwork, keeping up with test results, referrals, emails, messages and phone calls,' contributed to them working between three to seven hours extra a week.

An independent health visitor commented: 'As an independent practitioner I am responsible for keeping on top of my caseload which is too high for the very vulnerable area I work in. The managers do not permit us to take the time back or claim extra payments, so it's sink or swim in order to adhere to codes of practice.'

Some of the nurses commented that they needed to work extra hours for extra money to pay bills.

Of those nurses who did not work overtime, 21 per cent attributed it to sufficient staff numbers, 40 per cent cited good caseload and appointment management, and 38 per cent said that the local area did not require it.

The nurses were also questioned about whether increased working hours impacted on their level of care. Read more on how readers think increased hours impact on their levels of care.


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