Cotswold dentist quits Olympics over rota demands
A COTSWOLD dentist has blamed "unreasonable" working hours and "poor organisation" for her decision to pull out of volunteering at the Olympic Games.
Kathryn Smith, who practices at Chipping Manor Dental Practice in Cirencester, was eager to sign up as a volunteer dentist for the Athletes’ Village at London 2012.
But when she was given her rota, she was shocked to learn she was expected to work for up to 60 hours a week for free with less than seven hours sleep in between some shifts.
She said that after around two months of pleading with the organising committee for a more reasonable rota, she felt so stressed by the situation that she decided to pull out.
Dr Smith, from Chipping Sodbury, said: "I think it was poor organisation – nobody had the time to look at the rota and actually think about whether a person could do these shifts.
"You can’t afford lapses in concentration in the work we do. And long hours and not enough sleep are going to affect your concentration to the detriment of your patients’ health."
She admitted that Locog warned volunteers about late finishes and early starts but said she had no idea that she would be expected to finish near midnight and get up at 6am the next day.
“Even if I was paid I don’t think I’d do 60 hours a week – it’s unreasonable to expect that of somebody,” she said. “I’ve absolutely no doubt that there will have been other people that will have declined their position based on the hours too.”
A London 2012 spokesperson said: "We have up to 70,000 volunteers and creating rotas for all volunteers is a complex piece of project management.
“We have the most amazing volunteers and their welfare is really important to us - we have tried to be as flexible as possible with volunteers’ shifts and amend them where practical.
They added they were sorry Dr Smith felt she could no longer take part, but for operational reasons they did need volunteers to be available for a minimum number of shifts.