Time to change the culture of fatigue in hospitals
Fatigue is not exclusive to anaesthetists. The Association of Anaesthetists 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. For the sake of patient safety, steps must be taken by all parties to manage night working safely

It therefore sets out a three-point plan of DETECTION, EDUCATION and PREVENTION to address the culture surrounding doctor fatigue in hospitals and tackle the problem of excessive fatigue.

  1. Supporting the publication of a national survey of the extent of junior doctor fatigue, published online in the journal Anaesthesia: Read the full report A national survey of the effects of fatigue on trainees in anaesthesia in the UK http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/anae.13965/full
  2. Roll out of an education programme, informing doctors and their managers about fatigue and how they can collectively reduce its risks. Access educational resources here.
  3. Defined standards for rest facilities and cultural attitudes towards rest in hospitals.

Please read our press release supporting the publication of the fatigue survey Trainee doctors risking lives in car accidents after night shifts, survey reveals

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 >

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