World Sleep Day: Highways England supports national campaign to raise awareness of fatigue amongst healthcare staff
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World Sleep Day: Highways England supports national campaign to raise awareness of fatigue amongst healthcare staff

World Sleep Day: Highways England supports national campaign to raise awareness of fatigue amongst healthcare staff

This World Sleep Day (13 March), Highways England has announced 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 Anaesthesia1 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.

Stuart Lovatt, Strategic Road Safety Lead at Highways England, said: “Highways England and the Driving for Better Business Programme are delighted to work in partnership with the Association of Anaesthetists to help raise awareness of the risks from driving whilst tired. Any death on our roads is one too many and driving whilst fatigued can have very serious consequences to the driver and other road users. We’ll be working with the Association of Anaesthetists to share the information and guidance on work related road risk to help all staff at risk of fatigue reduce the likelihood of being involved in an incident whilst driving.”

Association of Anaesthetists president and consultant anaesthetist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Dr Kathleen Ferguson, said: “I’m delighted that Highways England is officially supporting our Fight Fatigue campaign as part of their Driving for Better Business programme 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 NHSorganisations 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.”

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Notes for editors:

For media enquiries, case studies, and interview opportunities, please contact:

Amelia Lyons, press officer, Association of Anaesthetists, on: 07989 748 477 or email: press@anaesthetists.org. Or, Benedetta Sala, Policy and Press Officer, Association of Anaesthetists on: +44 (0) 20 7631 8817 or email press@anaesthetists.org

About the Fight Fatigue campaign

The #FightFatigue campaign is a joint initiative of the Association of Anaesthetists, Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) and the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM). Since its launch in 2018, Numerous organisations and MPs have pledged their support. More information about the campaign be found at: www.anaesthetists.org/FightFatigue

About the Association of Anaesthetists  
As the professional membership organisation for over 10,000 anaesthetists in the UK, Republic of Ireland and internationally, the Association of Anaesthetists promotes patient care and safety, and advances anaesthesia through education, publications, research and international work. The Association maintains an active programme of support for anaesthesia worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Its motto in somno securitas (‘Safe in Sleep’) encapsulates the major focus of the Association: safety in anaesthesia. www.anaesthetists.org

About the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA)

The Royal College of Anaesthetists is the professional body responsible for the specialty throughout the UK, and ensures the quality of patient care through the maintenance of standards in anaesthesia, critical care and pain medicine. www.rcoa.ac.uk

About the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM)

The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine is the professional body responsible for the training, assessment, practice and continuing professional development of Intensive Care Medicine doctors and practitioners in the UK. www.ficm.ac.uk

About Highways England’s Driving for Better Business Programme

Driving for work is one of the most dangerous activities that many employees undertake. Very few organisations can operate without using the roads and around 20 million people are estimated to drive for work in some capacity – whether professional drivers or just occasional work journeys.

It is estimated that at least one third of road traffic injury collisions in Britain involve someone driving for work and in 2018, 33,213[1] vehicles being driven for work purposes were involved in collisions resulting in 38,376 casualties.  11,777 were the driver or rider, 6,323 were passengers of an at work driver/rider and 20,276 were other road users.  The cost of work-related road collisions and injuries to the British economy is almost £3.8 billion.

Driving for Better Business is a government-backed Highways England programme providing free tools, resources and guidance to help employers in both the private and public sectors meet their requirements under Health and Safety legislation, reduce work-related road risk, decrease the associated costs, and reduce incidents and casualties on the roads.  Well managed fleets also contribute to an improved environment using less fuel and reducing emissions.

More information on how the programme can contribute to the health of your organisation can be found at www.drivingforbetterbusiness.com.


1 Anaesthesia: A national survey of the effects of fatigue on trainees in anaesthesia in the UK (Representing 59% of all trainee anaesthetists and 100% of all NHS Trusts) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/anae.13965/full


[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/reported-road-casualties-in-great-britain-annual-report-2018