One in two public hospital doctors working unsafe hours
The Report of the 2016 AMA Safe Hours Audit was launched on Saturday 15 July 2017. It is the fourth nationwide survey of hospital-based doctors’ conducted by the AMA to assess the fatigue risks of doctors’ current working arrangements and hours and provides contemporary insights into the risks fatigue creates for individual doctor health and safety, their working patterns and quality of patient care.
The 2016 Audit showed little progress since the last audit in 2011, and confirmed that doctors at higher risk of fatigue typically work longer hours, longer shifts, have more days on call, less days off and are more likely to skip a meal break. These triggers are red flags for fatigue and should be used by hospitals, training providers, clinical safety and quality organisations, professional associations and doctors to manage that risk accordingly. This could include revising work, rostering and /or training practices and introducing specific workplace initiatives and educational programs aimed at improving the work and training environment.
The AMA Safe Hours Audit series is one part of a broader education and awareness program to improve understanding about the risks fatigue creates for individual health and safety and quality of patient care. The results of the audit should be used to assess individual and organisational practice, beliefs and culture, and to implement strategies that support safer working hours, patterns and environments for hospital doctors and doctors in training.