03 / 02 / 2009
NHS East Midlands
Derby City General Hospital
What we did and why
The Maternity Services Department at Derby City General Hospital has introduced an annualised hour's contract for midwives who are unable to work full time due to caring or other commitments.
Between 20 and 25 staff are on the contract at any one time, out of a total midwifery staff of 240. The Department uses this pool of staff to cover busy periods, and in the evenings and at weekends. The scheme is costed within existing staffing budgets, and ensures that midwives are available to cover gaps without resorting to agency staff. All the midwives on the scheme work at least 150 hours a year, complying with PREP requirements, and have access to training and development opportunities to maintain clinical best practice.
How we did it
The scheme was developed in consultation with the Trust HR department and Unions, and provides appropriate benefits in terms of holidays, sickness benefits and other conditions. Staff on the scheme include mothers who can work in term time only, those who want to work only in the evenings or at weekends, and carers with older dependents who can only work for a few hours a week. These staff would otherwise have been lost to the service altogether, and use the scheme to keep up their practice until they can return to full time work.
The understanding is that substantive full-time staff take priority in allocation of shifts, and that the annualised hours midwives are used only to comply with additional service needs. Their risk is that they will not always be able to work when they want to, because sufficient staff are already present. Rotas are generally planned 4 - 6 weeks ahead, although some of the group are happy to come in at short notice if needed.
The results and next steps
The scheme has now been in operation for 4 years, and successfully balances the interests of full and part time staff and the service as a whole. It is part of a wider IWL programme at the hospital, which includes regular meetings between midwifery and gynaecology managers and the HR operational team to review issues such as managing sickness absence and good people management practice.
Contact details and further information
For further information please contact Sheena Appleby, Head of Midwifery