Another WA nurse has endured a lengthy hospital shift as the union calls on the Cook Government to put the issue of excessive hours front and centre at next month’s workforce summit. The nurse, who wants to remain anonymous, worked an 18-hour shift at Geraldton Regional Hospital in a general ward at some point between February 23 and March 3 this year. She started the shift at 1pm and worked until 7.30am the next day, with just half an hour break. Australian Nursing Federation State secretary Janet Reah, pictured below, said the latest case illustrated the growing difficulties facing nurses and midwives across WA’s public health system. “The rise of double shifts has been a completely avoidable reality,” Ms Reah said. “Lengthy shifts create an environment of heightened danger. Anyone working such long hours is at that point considered too drunk to drive with the level of fatigue being experienced.” The longest shift allowed under their enterprise bargaining agreement is 12 hours. Ms Reah called for the issue of triple and double shifts to be on the agenda at the Health Minister’s summit on August 7. “They absolutely must be on the agenda. Ultimately, it must be more than a talk-fest,” Ms Reah said, calling for “constructive debate” towards “permanent change”. “Along with the impossible workloads, one of the most important items on the list, is lengthy shifts, due to dangers to both nurses and patients associated with fatigue,” she said. While Geraldton Health Campus remunerates instances of overtime, a spokesman said fatigue management strategies were in place. “If overtime does occur, we have strategies in place to help manage staff fatigue,” he said. “Staff wellbeing is at the forefront of everything we do as we know this will enable us to best care for our patients. “We are working hard to bolster our workforce, as health systems across the country and the world face ongoing workforce pressures — exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. “Our work in this space has resulted in the employment of a record numbers of graduate nurses and midwives, intern doctors, trainee psychiatrists and intern pharmacists.” Ms Reah also called for an overhaul of the contract-based model between agencies and WA hospitals after a similar case was highlighted by The West Australian. Between May 23 and 25 at Albany Regional Campus, an agency nurse worked 291/2 hours on a triple shift — which included a 221/2-hour block with only an hour break — which was all clocked within a 40-hour period. The incident came after Fiona Stanley Hospital intensive care unit nurses pulled a 24-hour shift on May 17 due to “exceptionally high numbers of very sick admissions and unplanned staff sick leave”. While WorkSafe investigations are open into both the FSH and Albany cases, there are no investigations at Geraldton Regional Hospital. An ED nurse at St John of God Midland has also sounded the alarm over the lengthy roster concerns after pulling a 22-hour stint during the eastern health hub’s COVID-19 response in mid-2022.