The CuriousPages Sketchbook

A nightshift at a Welsh hospital is a holiday

A friend of mine is a Filipino nurse in the UK. I’ve met a handful or so of other Filipino nurses in the UK and what has struck me is how hard they work. Because of their shifts, which are often around 12 or even 14 hours long, and sometimes at night, they don’t usually have the time for a social life. And often when they do have days off, they will elect to work overtime, because “If I’m doing nothing, I might as well be working and earning some money”.

I now take this for granted, but the other day my friend Seb told me something that I still can’t stop laughing about whenever I think of it.

He signed himself up with a nursing agency, so that he could get extra work on his days off. He lives in Birmingham, and he was offered a single shift in Wales on a particular day. It was his day off, so for a treat, he took the work. He got on a train, travelled two hours into Wales, worked a night shift at a hospital, then got back on a train and travelled two hours back to Birmingham, ready for work the next day at his usual hospital. He said that “It was a treat for me.” I was speechless for several seconds, then I had to get him to repeat the informtion, becuase I just couldn’t believe my ears.

Hmmm. These Filipino guys just don’t have the same work ethic that Bristish people do.

It gets worse. Sometimes they work their 14 hour shifts without a break for a meal. They might have 30 minutes to grab a sandwich.

No wonder the NHS is so keen to go to such countries and recruit nurses to work in the UK.


6 September 2008



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