16 May 2024

The fight against fatigue

The challenge of tackling fatigue in healthcare is addressed in a new white paper from the CIEHF and a team of experts. Fatigue Risk Management for Health and Social Care sets out practical ways to approach the issue, which can have potentially serious consequences.

It describes the impact of fatigue on clinical performance and the safety of patients and staff. And it suggests a roadmap to develop an effective approach to the problem over the next ten years.

The white paper is the result of a unique collaboration and combined expertise from healthcare and other safety-critical industries.

Dr Tim Meek, President-Elect of the Association of Anaesthetists, said: “Serial papers report that the problem is getting worse, not better. The time has come for the healthcare system to acknowledge and address fatigue in its workers. As with aviation, nuclear, rail and road transport, this now has to become embedded in NHS culture and practice and in regulatory activity. Affirmative action has to be built into the system and subject to scrutiny.

“Having staff whose fatigue is monitored and managed needs to be the normal expectation, for the good of patients, staff and the system. It needs to become part of the fabric of healthcare; it is not a ‘bolt-on’ and it needs to be as normal in the system as measuring patients’ vital signs. This document is the welcome next step towards that end.”

Download your free copy of Fatigue Risk Management for Health and Social Care and read more about it in next month’s issue of The Ergonomist.