Balancing shiftwork, safety and employee wellbeing in the NHS and police

Impact: Impact - for External PortalEconomic and commerce, Health and welfare - new products, guidelines and services, Quality of life and safety, Policy and legislation


Work on shiftwork and employee wellbeing has collected data from the NHS on nurses (2010-12) and from the police service (2012-14), through sponsorship from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) (England and Wales). The health sector findings, which are being carried forward by Dr Hannah Hesselgreaves (Durham University, Medical Education Research unit) in several initiatives, could increase awareness of the role of leadership in either buffering or exacerbating job strain associated with high demands, and the importance of leadership development in the NHS. This is especially important for senior level nurses whose roles have expanded considerably over the last decade. The findings from the police service are currently being considered by the ACPO Health, Safety and Wellbeing Working Group. All those participating in the survey (over 3000 police officers and staff involved in shiftwork, many night workers) as well as those associated with the four police forces which participated, will be informed of the outcomes. If the impact of this research is realised it will result in more awareness of how shiftwork affects wellbeing (health, attitudes), absenteeism, sleepiness and possible near miss or fatal accidents when driving to and from work. The Working Group also is considering how welfare issues can be balanced with the need for shiftwork to provide 24/7 service, driving safety policies and procedures (e.g. Health Assessments/surveillance), and whether there are visible alternatives to travelling to/from work on for those on shift patterns (eg IT solutions, on-call systems).

Category of impact

  • Economic and commerce
  • Health and welfare - new products, guidelines and services
  • Quality of life and safety
  • Policy and legislation

    Research areas

  • shiftwork, employee wellbeing, driving safety, absenteeism, leadership, health, police

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