England

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BMA sets sleeping standards

tired junior woman scrubs corridor wall

A charter providing comprehensive guidelines to combat fatigue and provide a universal standard in doctors’ rest facilities has been outlined by the BMA.

The Fatigue and Facilities Charter sets out a comprehensive set of recommendations, to be followed by employers, designed to address the systemic causes of sleep deprivation and fatigue among doctors.

Among the charter’s specific recommendations is the need for trusts to ensure they provide good quality and free-to-access sleep and rest facilities for all on-call staff working at night.

Local negotiating committees will be asked to negotiate the local implementation of the standards included in this charter and their maintenance following agreement and will ask for employers to nominate a representative responsible for maintaining these standards.

BMA junior doctors committee chair Jeeves Wijesuriya said that the charter was a much-needed response to the growing issue of sleep deprivation among doctors.

He said: ‘We know that fatigue can have a devastating effect on junior doctors and their patients. Tired doctors are at much greater risk of making mistakes that put themselves or their patients at risk. By signing up to this fatigue and facilities charter we want employers to recognise their duty of care to doctors to minimise these risks.’

JDC deputy chair for terms and condition of service and negotiations Peter Campbell added: ‘Systems that do not protect breaks for healthcare workers are fundamentally unsafe and must be challenged at a local and national level. The BMA is giving its local negotiating committees the tools to effectively make the case for high quality facilities, and a culture that respects breaks and recognises fatigue. We want to ensure that we are all working towards a system that keeps doctors and patients safe.’

Read the charter

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