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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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If a company refuses to employ agency care assistants when

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If a company refuses to employ agency care assistants when you are short staffed, and expect you to work on a dementia unit with 28 resident when the staff levels should be 5 care staff in the morning and 4 care staff inn the afternoon are the company breaking the health and safety policy and the safe guarding policy when they leave you to work on the unit with 3/3 staff
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Is there a specific policy in place which states the minimum number of staff?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
we are told that the budget of the unit determine the staffing levels, so the unit I am on they say 5/4 care assistants staff over a 12 hour period and there are 2 nurses on of a morning and 1 nurse on an afternoon, we are told that the nurses are included in the numbers but to be fair they don't help on the floor only to watch the lounge. The unit is a nursing dementia and there are meny resident who can be and are aggressive on a daily basis
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I experienced some temporary connection issues last night and could not get back on the site until now. All appears to be resolved now so I can continue dealing with your query.
Going back to your question, whilst there is no specific number of care staff which are required by law, the employer would still be expected to ensure that there is sufficient cover so that neither staff nor patients are placed at risk. As you can imagine this will vary from one case to another and it will depend on the nature of the patients and their illnesses, the working environment, the level of care required etc.
It is not uncommon for a ward to be short staffed. My partner is a nurse so I hear too often of staff shortages. That in itself is not illegal as long as it is not something which becomes a permanent arrangement and is ignored by the employer. So for example if the shortages are due to unforeseen circumstances like someone calling in sick then it could be that staff shortages may occur. However, if this becomes an ongoing issue and it is clear that it is not a one off then the employer should make attempts to resolve this and ensure that staffing levels are appropriate so that neither staff not patients are placed at risk.
In terms of what you can do about this, the first step is to consider raising a formal grievance with the employer. You would be making a protected disclosure by raising health and safety concerns so you should not be treated detrimentally by the employer.
If things don’t get resolved then eventually you may consider resigning and making a claim for constructive dismissal in the employment tribunal.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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