Health Education England supports national campaign to raise awareness of fatigue amongst healthcare staff
Monday 27 January 2020
Health Education England has announced official endorsement of the national Fight Fatigue campaign, a joint initiative of the Association of Anaesthetists, the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the impact of fatigue and shift work on our NHS workforce.
The Fight Fatigue campaign was launched in 2018 in response to the tragic death of a trainee anaesthetist who died whilst driving home tired after a night shift. In addition, a national survey of over 2,000 anaesthetic trainees published in the scientific journal Anaesthesia found:
- Nearly three quarters of respondents reported fatigue had a negative effect on their physical health or psychological wellbeing.
- 84% had felt too tired to drive home safely after a night shift.
- Less than a third had access to a suitable rest facility.
- 57% had experienced an accident or near miss when driving home after a night shift.
Prof Bill Irish, regional postgraduate dean, Health Education England, said: “Fatigue amongst trainee doctors and consultants in acute settings is an incredibly important issue for the NHS. It impacts not only on the doctors themselves, but has a direct effect on their families, hospital teams and most of all on patient safety. Health Education England is firmly committed to working with doctors, trusts and our colleagues in NHS England and NHS Improvement to address this vital issue.”
Association of Anaesthetists president and consultant anaesthetist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Dr Kathleen Ferguson, said: “I’m delighted that Health Education England is officially supporting our Fight Fatigue campaign and we look forward to working with them to help raise awareness of the issues related to fatigue. We want to change attitudes across the NHS to ensure everyone understands the risks of fatigue and how to mitigate against them. We hope that by taking responsibility collectively for making changes to working practice, we can improve working conditions for all staff which will in turn benefit patient care.
“As momentum for our campaign grows, we now have increasing support from organisations representing a wide range of specialties across the NHS. We also have support from politicians across the political spectrum at Westminster and the devolved bodies. We urge all our colleagues in the NHS to back our campaign and ensure everyone understands the risks of fatigue and how to mitigate them.”