The GMC has published the results of the 2018 National Training Survey (NTS). This includes a case study from the fatigue working group of the Association of Anaesthetists (Association) and the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) describing the work the group is doing to improve the culture around fatigue.
In 2018, for the first time, trainees in anaesthesia were asked four questions about fatigue and shift work as part of the speciality specific questions. This reflects the importance that the Association and RCoA place on improving the culture around fatigue. A total of 3156 anaesthetic trainees responded to these questions.
Key points from these results are:
- Three quarters of trainees who had received education on fatigue or sleep found it useful, but this teaching was only available for about one third of trainees
- One in three trainees felt too tired to get home safely monthly or more frequently (one in 11 daily or weekly)
- Two thirds of trainees felt that the support they received to take breaks was good or very good
- Over one third of trainees reported that work related fatigue had a significant or some impact on their progress through training. About one in four reported that it had had no effect.
While the results are an encouraging start to the work on fatigue, the GMC states that there is plenty of room for improvement. The council adds that there are already areas of good practice, with good support for rest breaks and availability of education about managing fatigue and shift work. Teaching resources are available at www.aagbi.org/professionals/wellbeing/fatigue/fatigue-resources
The same questions will be asked of trainees in anaesthesia in 2019 enabling the GMC to track progress in these areas. In the meantime, the joint fatigue working group will continue to work with members of the partner organisations, healthcare managers and leaders and politicians to improve the management of fatigue.