The BMA has developed a good sleep and facilities charter¹ outlining recommendations on how to address the growing issue of sleep deprivation and fatigue amongst doctors and clinical staff.
This follows on from a recent BMA paper² highlighting the negative impact of long working hours, difficult rota patterns and increasing demand on the wellbeing and performance of doctors and patient safety.
The charter recognises the need for a universal standard in doctors’ facilities and offers guidance to employers on how best to implement better practices for staff to address the underlying cause of sleep deprivation and fatigue.
Among the recommendations outlined in the charter are improvements to rostering and rota design, good quality and accessible sleep facilities, training to raise awareness of the importance of breaks and a nominated representative to deal with concerns over fatigue and sleep deprivation.
Responding to the introduction of the charter, BMA junior doctors committee chair, Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, said:
"Fatigue can have a devastating impact on both the health and wellbeing of doctors and consequently to the care a patient receives. It is therefore important that employers take on these recommendations and recognise their duty of care to look after their workforce so they can minimise the risks associated with fatigue and continue to provide safe and effective care for patients.
"Given the growing instances of sleep deprivation and fatigue amongst doctors and clinical staff due to the current pressures in the NHS, this charter is a necessary step in addressing the need for improvements to how doctors’ rest is currently handled.
"These recommendations should lay the groundwork for cultivating greater awareness of the importance of breaks and provide the necessary guidance and support for trusts in relation to how they can implement these changes and improve facilities accordingly."
Notes to Editors
The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
- Read the BMA sleep and facilities charter here
- Read the BMA briefing paper on Fatigue and Sleep deprivation here
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