AAGBI fatigue awareness campaign

A junior doctor in an acute hospital specialty, such as anaesthesia, will work well over a year’s worth of hospital night shifts in the first 10 years of their career.  Consultants also work resident night shifts, and are subject to commonly interrupted nights’ sleep when they are on call. 

The AAGBI believes it is time for healthcare professions and NHS managers to acknowledge that working at night is not the same as working in the day, and that for the sake of patient safety, steps must be taken by all parties to manage night working safely.  It therefore sets out its three-point plan to address the culture surrounding doctor fatigue in hospitals and tackle the problem of excessive fatigue.

Read our press release The AAGBI calls for a change to the culture around night shift working here.

Fatigue and Anaesthetists guidelines

First published in 2004 and updated in 2014, this document provides recommendations on how to anticipate and mitigate the effects of fatigue for anaesthetists in the workplace. Fatigue and Anaesthetists guidelines >

AAGBI fatigue awareness campaign

Improving the culture of fatigue at work

•    Find out what rest facilities are available for the team working overnight. Make sure they know where they are.
•    Encourage the anaesthetists on overnight to work together to make sure they get a nap during a break.
•    Consider ways to improve the suitability or accessibility of rest facilities if necessary.
•    Help colleagues to get home safely in the morning. 
•    Think about your usual sleep habits; could they be improved?

Further supporting information

•    Royal College of Anaesthetists Morale and Welfare Survey
•    The long-term effects on the health of night shift workers, published in the British Medical Journal (available by subscription or by signing up to 14-day free trial).