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European Patient Safety Foundation backs national campaign to raise awareness of fatigue amongst healthcare staff 

PESS RELEASE (18 March 2021)


The European Patient Safety Foundation is backing 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.

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The Fight Fatigue campaign was launched in 2018 in response to the tragic death of a trainee anaesthetist who died whilst driving home tired after a night shift. 


Despite growing support for the campaign there is still much to be done, as demonstrated by a survey[1], published in the journal Anaesthesia, which revealed the scale and impact of out-of-hours working on consultant anaesthetists and intensivists. The vast majority of survey respondents reported work-related fatigue impacting on all areas of life and more than 1 in 10 admitted to having a car accident or near miss when commuting whilst fatigued in their consultant career, and many more as a junior doctor. The survey also found:


  • 91% of consultants who responded, experience work-related fatigue and 50% of them reported this had a moderate or severe impact on health, wellbeing, work and home life.

  • Only a third (34%) said they have access to a private rest facility when on-call.

  • 84% of respondents contribute to a night on-call rota (including weekends) and 37% also work regular weekend days. 

European Patient Safety Foundation’s President, Dr. Sven Staender said: “The Fight Fatigue campaign raises awareness about why fatigue and sleep deprivation is dangerous not only for healthcare staff but also for patients and the general public. Despite the fact that each individual is responsible for understanding the importance of fatigue management, change will only be possible if the leadership of healthcare organisations will provide the necessary rest facilities, encourage the culture of rest and safety and recognise the importance of wellbeing of their staff.  The European Patient Safety Foundation decided to support the Fight Fatigue campaign because we believe that by promoting and stimulating application of the resources that are part of this campaign it is possible to contribute to a long-lasting change in safety culture in healthcare.“


Association of Anaesthetists’ President, Dr Mike Nathanson, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed the NHS to its limits. Healthcare staff continue to be under extraordinary pressure and are likely to face workplace fatigue and stress on a scale never experienced before. Our Fight Fatigue campaign has never been more important, and we want to remind our colleagues of the risks of fatigue and how to mitigate against them. In these intensely busy times, it is hugely important that we continue to ensure our staff are getting the rest and sleep they need. Improving rest facilities at work and raising awareness of the issues related to fatigue are just two ways our campaign is striving to make a difference.


“I’m delighted that the European Patient Safety Foundation is officially endorsing our Fight Fatigue campaign and we look forward to working with them to help raise awareness of the issues related to fatigue.”


Dr Emma Plunkett, joint fatigue group co-lead and consultant anaesthetist, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, said: “It is encouraging to see our campaign continue to grow and to have support from organisations representing a wide range of specialties and professional groups across the NHS. We welcome this support from our colleagues in Europe, in recognition of the importance of the issue to all those who work in healthcare. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of us looking after the safety and wellbeing of our staff  and we will continue toinvite all our colleagues in the UK and across the world to back the Fight Fatigue campaign to help us raise awareness of the risks of fatigue and how to mitigate them.”

[1] A national survey of out‐of‐hours working and fatigue in consultants in anaesthesia and paediatric intensive care in the UK and Ireland, 2 September 2019,


For media enquiries, case studies, and interview opportunities, please contact:  Amelia Lyons, press officer, Association of Anaesthetists, on: 07989 748 477 or email:

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), co-ordinated through a Joint Fatigue Group. Since its launch in 2018, Numerous organisations and MPs have pledged their support. More information about the campaign be found at:  

About the Association of Anaesthetists 
As the professional membership organisation for over 10,000 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.


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.


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.


About the European Patient Safety Foundation 

The European Patient Safety Foundation constitutes a neutral knowledge and best practices exchange platform for innovative, meaningful, sustainable and replicable solutions for

Patient Safety improvement.

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