HEALTH bosses are being urged to build “sleeping pods” in hospitals to cater for exhausted staff.
Lothian MSP and Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs said a change was needed in working hours and culture for stressed medics, but more immediate measures should be taken to ease the problem.
And he pledged his party’s backing to a “Fight Fatigue” campaign on the issue.
Mr Briggs said fatigue could have an impact on doctors’ and nurses’ ability to perform, as well as affecting their safety getting home from work.
A range of professional groups and healthcare organisations are backing the campaign launched by the Association of Anaesthetists to help raise awareness of the issue.
A survey found 91 per cent of consultant doctors experienced work-related fatigue and 50 per cent of them reported this had a moderate or severe impact on health, wellbeing, work and home life.
Some 45 per cent of respondents admitted to having a car accident or near miss when commuting while fatigued.
And only a third said they had access to a private rest facility when on-call.
Consultant anaesthetist Dr Emma Plunkett said: “The impact of fatigue on our NHS workforce continues to be a major area of concern.
“Research tells us that sleep is crucial to our health and wellbeing and a lack of sleep in healthcare staff not only affects the professional but will also have an impact on their patients. This survey clearly demonstrates doctors are simply not getting the rest and sleep they need.”
Mr Briggs said: “We need to see a fundamental shift in the working hours and culture for junior doctors, but there are measures such as installing sleeping pods in all hospital that can make a difference now.
“Well rested junior doctors and medical professionals perform better, retain knowledge more effectively, are more likely to stay in the medical profession and most importantly are safer.”