Medical Defence Union supports national campaign to raise awareness of fatigue amongst healthcare staff

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has today signed up to the national Fight Fatigue campaign to help raise awareness of fatigue amongst NHS healthcare staff.

The campaign aims to tackle the negative effects of shift working and fatigue on the NHS workforce, and is run in partnership with the Association of Anaesthetists, the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.

Dr Michael Devlin, head of professional standards and liaison at the MDU, said:

"There is growing recognition of the impact of poor sleep on practising doctors’ mental health and patient safety. So we are very pleased to add our support to the Fight Fatigue campaign. Our own member survey in 2022 found that a third of respondents felt sleep deprived on at least a weekly basis, and one in four (26%) said tiredness had affected their ability to safely care for patients. 

"We hope that by adding our voice to the campaign we can continue to press the government and employers to do more to support exhausted colleagues. We have made it clear that this must be a key priority for the health and social care secretary."

The Fight Fatigue campaign was launched in 2019 following the tragic death of a trainee anaesthetist while they drove home tired following a night shift.

A subsequent national survey of over 2,000 anaesthetic trainees 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.

Association of Anaesthetists president Dr Matt Davies said: "I’m delighted that MDU is 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.

"We now have increasing support from organisations representing a wide range of specialties across the NHS. We also have support from parliamentarians 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."

Find out more about the Fight Fatigue campaign here:

This page was correct at publication on 20/12/2022. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.