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Jul 20

Time to fight fatigue in the NHS

Fatigue logoI’m backing the campaign to #FightFatigue. It is no secret that our NHS is currently underfunded and under great strain, but what often goes unnoticed is the effect of that strain on NHS workers.

Tory spending cuts have led to staff having to work longer hours and increasingly sporadic shift patterns – both contribute to a fatigued NHS workforce.

The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland new campaign to raise awareness of the issue found that out of more than 2,150 anaesthetists, nearly three quarters reported that fatigue had a negative effect on their physical health or psychological wellbeing.

More than four in five (84 per cent) of anaesthetists felt too tired to drive home safely after a night shift and over half (57 per cent) said they had experienced an accident or near miss.

The fight against NHS fatigue should be a concern for us all.

That is why I am supporting the #FightFatigue campaign launched by The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.

The professional organisations have  created resources for trainees and practitioners, including a ‘traffic light’ system to evaluate existing rest facilities, and outline ways for hospital management, doctors and other staff to work together on the issue.

It is in the best interests of patients that our NHS staff are able to work safely, and to do that there should be a minimum provision of free rest facilities within hospitals for ‘power naps’ when the demands of patient care allow, and for rest before staff travel home.