A tired hospital doctor rests his head on his hand as he sits at a desk.

Share your experience of healthcare staff fatigue

26 March 2024

We’ve just launched an investigation to look at fatigue risk in healthcare and its impact on patient safety.

The investigation will explore healthcare staff fatigue in patient safety incidents including:

  • how healthcare staff fatigue can be a contributory factor in patient safety incidents
  • the factors that prevent or support fatigue being identified as a contributory factor within patient safety incident investigations.

We’re keen to hear from patients, families, healthcare staff and organisations to inform this investigation, particularly if you feel healthcare staff fatigue has impacted patient safety.

What is fatigue?

The Health and Safety Executive define fatigue as:

'The issues that arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is generally considered to be a decline in mental and/or physical performance that results from prolonged exertion, sleep loss and/or disruption of the internal [body] clock. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.’

Clare Crowley
Clare Crowley, Senior Safety Investigator at HSSIB.

Share your experience

We are looking for examples of patient safety incidents where fatigue was a contributory factor and where organisations are considering fatigue as part of their patient safety incident investigations.

Clare Crowley, Senior Safety Investigator, says: “We’ve already spoken to three NHS acute trusts and would like to hear from the wider health and care community – including primary care, community care and mental health. And from both the NHS and independent healthcare sector. You might want to share work that you are already doing to manage the risk of staff fatigue, or you could work collaboratively with us as part of the investigation.”

Saskia Fursland
Saskia Fursland, Senior Safety Investigator at HSSIB.

Saskia Fursland, Senior Safety Investigator, says: “Our investigation is examining staff fatigue specifically from a patient safety perspective. We aim to make safety recommendations as part of this investigation that help health and care organisations to proactively manage this risk, in support of patient safety and staff wellbeing.”

How to contact the investigation team

If you would like to get involved, please email the investigation team: enquiries@hssib.org.uk.

Read the fatigue investigation launch report

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