The AMA has played a leadership role in raising awareness of the risks of fatigue for medical professionals and in the development of practical solutions to minimise these risks. Research shows that fatigue can affect people in the same way as alcohol and can lead to higher risks of medical error - which impacts on patient care.

Evidence also shows that fatigue can also put at risk the personal health and safety of doctors. For example, doctors who are fatigued are at much greater risk of needlestick injury and being involved motor vehicle accidents. In short, fatigue is serious issue for the medical profession.

Safe hours for doctors does not necessarily mean fewer hours, but it does mean that public hospitals need to improve their rostering arrangements significantly. AMA Safe Hours Audits have revealed that many doctors work a similar number of hours, but often have very different risk ratings. If doctors have adequate breaks and opportunities for uninterrupted sleep - the risks of fatigue can be greatly reduced.

To help doctors determine whether they are at risk of fatigue, the AMA has developed an on-line fatigue assessment tool. Doctors who use the assessment tool will receive an on-line assessment of the fatigue risks of their roster. Doctors who are assessed as being at risk are encouraged to raise this with hospital management.

Don't forget, the AMA is ready to help members with concerns about their rosters. Members should not hesitate to contact their local AMA Branch for assistance. You can also email safehours@ama.com.au

The information provided on this site is stored in a database to allow the AMA to monitor the working patterns of doctors over time. This information used in a de-identified fashion, and the provision of personal details is purely voluntary. If you enter details of your email address, this will allow the AMA to send you information on our safe hours campaign and information on other AMA activities.

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