The nurses and care assistants at Östra sjukhuset must know which priorities apply when there is not enough time. That is, what tasks they should perform, and which they should not.
This was announced by the Swedish Work Environment Agency, which now announces that requirements can be set such that the hospital will have to pay a fine if they are not met.
– This is very positive, says Chief Protection Officer and Assistant Nurse Jonny Sundling, who with other protection officers turned to the Swedish Work Environment Authority at the end of last year.
They called for action against an “extremely heavy workload” situation with overtime, double shifts and ill health of staff.
“Now your body is taking a beating.”
The Swedish Work Environment Agency is now preparing requirements for the hospital to investigate the health effects of working hours. But also nurses and care assistants need to know what to prioritize when time is very short.
Is there anything to prioritize it apart from that?
– In the end, no. We are understaffed. The priority list right now, says Jonny Sundling, is a solution to ensuring we don’t burn out our staff.
He therefore welcomes a requirement from the Swedish Work Environment Authority, but at the same time says:
– I really hope you don’t end up in a situation where you have to resort to priority lists and remove tasks in case of high occupancy.
Are you really prioritizing things now?
– What you do instead is toss over a heavy person in bed when there are two of you. Your body takes a beating.
“Things have gone wrong in care”
With a clear order of priority, the information might instead be omitted, which could have consequences for the help patients receive.
Klas-Åke Sibgård is one of the inspectors with the Swedish Work Environment Authority who inspected Östra sjukhuset. He states that employers should always have a prioritization order for peak work production. But you see here that everyday life also requires it.
Is it becoming more common that you need to ask the staff in care to know what needs to be prioritized?
– I guess I have to stress that in a way, it’s gotten worse in recent years because they have a heavy workload.
Emergency solutions are becoming common
The business was involved in several decisions from last year, with the Swedish Work Environment Agency specifically asking healthcare employers to prioritize.
It shows that the solution that must exist in extreme situations risks becoming part of everyday life.
In two requests addressed to the maternity ward in Malmö and the psychiatric ward in Trelleborg, the Work Environment Agency wrote that priority systems should in principle only be used in unpredictable work peaks.
But then the situation in departments proved to mean that a clear prioritization was still needed while waiting for further action.
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