Press release: National Association of Clinical Tutors supports national campaign to raise awareness of fatigue amongst healthcare staff

Tue, 2nd July 2019

The National Association of Clinical Tutors (NACT UK) 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 last year 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(1) 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.

Jane Litherland, executive manager at NACT UK, said: The National Association of Clinical Tutors recognises the vital importance of adequate rest and appropriate sleep hygiene for junior doctors. These frontline staff, involved in life and death acute care, need time away from the clinical environment to reflect and recharge. Employers can support this through well designed rotas and provision of adequate rest facilities.

“Our members have been pivotal in securing these interventions and continue to support the Fight Fatigue campaign through active engagement with NHS Trusts. Together, we will make sure that proper rest is a routine expectation of the working life of doctors, for the benefit of patient care everywhere.”

Association of Anaesthetists president and consultant anaesthetist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Dr Kathleen Ferguson, said: “I’m delighted that NACT UK is officially supporting our Fight Fatigue campaign and we look forward to working with members of the organisation 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 MPs 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.”

(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)