RCP supports national Fight Fatigue campaign

The Royal College of Physicians is supporting the national Fight Fatigue campaign to help raise awareness of fatigue among NHS healthcare staff.

Run in partnership with the Association of Anaesthetists, the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, Fight Fatigue aims to tackle the negative effects of shift working and fatigue on the NHS workforce.

The campaign was launched last year in response to the tragic death of a trainee anaesthetist who died while 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.

Discussing the campaign, Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said:

For too long, fatigue among doctors has been talked about as though it is simply part of the job, but this campaign says something different. It says that there are things that we can do, and must do if we are to protect our staff, to help them do the best job they can for their patients, and to ensure that we continue to attract healthcare workers in the future.

This campaign is fully supported by the RCP London Trainees Committee. As trainees we are at the sharp end and have been managing an increasing number of medical admissions and erosion of our rest facilities.

Dr Rachel Jones, vice chair of the RCP’s Trainees Committee

Dr Rachel Jones, vice chair of the RCP’s Trainees Committee, said:

This campaign is fully supported by the RCP London Trainees Committee. As trainees we are at the sharp end and have been managing an increasing number of medical admissions and erosion of our rest facilities. This campaign offers resources and standards to help fight fatigue, applicable to us as physicians as well as our anaesthetics colleagues.
 
Dr Kathleen Ferguson, Association of Anaesthetists president and consultant anaesthetist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, added:

I’m delighted that the Royal College of Physicians is officially supporting our Fight Fatigue campaign. The impact of fatigue is well evidenced, and we know that fatigue has a significant impact on logical reasoning and vigilance. Well-rested healthcare professionals are better able to provide quality safe care to their patients.

Our ongoing campaign is supporting healthcare professionals with practical, everyday resources to help change attitudes and improve working environments. We look forward to working with members of the royal college to help raise awareness of the issues related to fatigue.

Dr Emma Plunkett, fatigue project group lead and consultant anaesthetist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, said:

Sleep is a key part of maintaining our health and wellbeing and the issue of fatigue amongst our NHS workforce is concerning. Our campaign seeks to change attitudes across the NHS to ensure everyone understands the risks of fatigue and how to mitigate them. We hope that by collectively taking responsibility for making changes to working practice, we can improve working conditions for staff which will in turn benefit patient care.

You can find ways to support the Fight Fatigue campaign in your workplace and on social media from the Association of Anaesthetists website.