OAA backs national campaign to raise awareness of fatigue amongst healthcare staff


The Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Obstetric Anaesthetists’ Association are supporting 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 Anaesthesia1 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.

Gill Adgie, Regional Head North at the Royal College of Midwives, said: "This campaign has our wholehearted backing because it is so important to support the people delivering care.

"Tired staff who also do not feel valued or supported simply cannot deliver the safest and best possible care. We know that many NHS staff struggle with insufficient resources, miss breaks and struggle to rest, drink or eat when on very long shifts. They often work beyond their contracted hours to ensure the best possible care.

"So it is imperative that we support our NHS staff with initiatives such as this campaign which echoes the RCM’s own Caring for You campaign around staff wellbeing. The evidence is strong that when you have staff who are valued and supported, patients get better and safer care.”

Obstetric Anaesthetists’ Association (OAA) President and Consultant Anaesthetist at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital, Dr Felicity Plaat, said: “We know from national activity surveys that obstetrics accounts for the majority of anaesthetic service provision overnight and that trainees, staff grades, associate specialists and specialty doctors undertake the majority of this work. A key objective of the OAA is promoting safety in maternity care. One of the most effective ways to do this is to ensure the wellbeing of anaesthetists and other healthcare professionals on the front line of maternity. The OAA is delighted to support the Fight Fatigue campaign and work with the Association of Anaesthetists to highlight the detrimental impact of fatigue and strategies to minimise this impact.”

Professor Janice Rymer, Vice President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said: “One of the most effective ways to address NHS workforce shortages and ensure high quality of care for women and girls is to improve the welfare of the profession. The number of doctors leaving Obstetrics and Gynaecology is one of the highest of any medical speciality, and poor work-life balance is one of the main causes. We are very pleased to support the Fight Fatigue campaign and to help raise awareness of the need to prevent fatigue and burn out in the workplace. By working together, we aim to improve the welfare of our colleagues and to help ensure the best possible healthcare for our patients.”

Association of Anaesthetists President and Consultant Anaesthetist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Dr Kathleen Ferguson, said: “I’m delighted that these three organisations representing midwives, obstetricians and gynaecologists are officially supporting our Fight Fatigue campaign and we look forward to working with them 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.”


1Anaesthesia: 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) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/anae.13965/full


Notes for editors:
For media enquiries, case studies, and interview opportunities, please contact:

Amelia Lyons, Press Officer, Association of Anaesthetists, on: 07989 748 477 or email: press@anaesthetists.org. Or, Stephanie Addington, Marketing and Communications Manager, Association of Anaesthetists, on: +44 (0) 20 7631 8854 or email stephanieaddington@anaesthetists.org

About the Fight Fatigue campaign

The #FightFatigue campaign is a joint initiative of the Association of Anaesthetists, Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) and the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM). Since its launch in 2018, Numerous organisations and politicians have pledged their support. More information about the campaign be found at: www.anaesthetists.org/FightFatigue

About the Association of Anaesthetists

As the professional membership organisation for over 11,000 anaesthetists in the UK, Republic of Ireland and internationally, the Association of Anaesthetists promotes patient care and safety, and advances anaesthesia through education, publications, research and international work. The Association maintains an active programme of support for anaesthesia worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Its motto in somno securitas (‘Safe in Sleep’) encapsulates the major focus of the Association: safety in anaesthesia. www.anaesthetists.org

About the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA)

The Royal College of Anaesthetists is the professional body responsible for the specialty throughout the UK and ensures the quality of patient care through the maintenance of standards in anaesthesia, critical care and pain medicine. www.rcoa.ac.uk

About the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM)

The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine is the professional body responsible for the training, assessment, practice and continuing professional development of Intensive Care Medicine doctors and practitioners in the UK. www.ficm.ac.uk

About the Royal College of Midwives

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at www.rcm.org.uk.

About The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high-quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision. www.rcog.org.uk

About the Obstetric Anaesthetists’ Association

The Obstetric Anaesthetists' Association provides education and training for anaesthetists, midwives and other practitioners involved in caring for pregnant women in the UK and overseas. It produces free, evidence-based information for the public about epidurals and other forms of labour pain relief and anaesthesia for caesarean section. A key objective is promoting safety in maternity care. www.oaa-anaes.ac.uk.
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