Connect with us


Allowing ‘sleep breaks’ for NHS staff would improve patient safety

A 15 to 20 minute nap can help to combat fatigue, improving a persons ability to function thereby leading to less errors.



nurse intensive care

Allowing staff to have sleep breaks would combat stress and improve their ability to function.

NHS Employers alongside Dr. Michael Farquhar, a leading expert in sleep medicine, claim that ensuring NHS staff get adequate rest would improve patient safety.

An article published on the NHS Employers website by Dr. Farquhar highlights how having regular short 15 to 20 minute naps can help to combat fatigue, improving a persons ability to function thereby leading to less errors.


In a survey of night shift workers completed by NursingNotes, we found that while 65 per cent of nurses admitted to sleeping during their break almost 90 per cent claimed their employer had rules prohibiting it. An astonishing 45 per cent of respondents claimed they did not regularly have a break during their shift.

“Without sleep, we can’t function at our best”.

Dr. Michael Farquhar, consultant in children’s sleep medicine at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, said; “Those who work around the clock are used to dealing with fatigue. Night-shift workers generally sleep less, and have poorer quality sleep, when sleeping in the daytime. To stay awake at night, night-shift workers must fight against their circadian rhythm, the internal body clock insisting that they should be asleep. As more night shifts are worked, most people build up increasing levels of fatigue, as they fight against the twin effects of work jet lag and sleep deprivation.

“Many industries have strict mandatory rules about rest and breaks, to manage the fatigue of their staff, for one very simple reason – tiredness kills. We aren’t as good at thinking like this in the NHS.”

The NHS never stops – it continues to treat all those who need it, regardless of the time of day. To do that safely, the impact that fatigue has on the health of the people who deliver that care, but also their ability to deliver care safely, effectively and efficiently, must be acknowledged. Momentary losses of concentration, simple errors, can rapidly lead to significant consequences for the patients we are there for. “

You need to be at your best.

Farquhar adds that although many forgo breaks when their area is busy, the truth is that the busier it is the more you need a break – you need to at your best to deal with it.

“For many people a short, 15 to 20-minute nap can help to reduce the impact of fatigue on their ability to function, especially at night. Power naps are enough to give a ‘boost’ of sleep that can leave you feeling more alert and less sluggish when you wake.”

“As the pressure on the NHS grows ever stronger, it becomes even more important that strategies to support the staff delivering care are put in place. Organisations need to understand the essential role of fatigue management and look after their staff so that they can provide safe, effective and efficient patient care.”



Nursing vacancies hit record high leaving patient care at risk

It can be “dangerous” when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care.



Patient Falls Risk with IV

There are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone.

NHS figures show that there are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The College says a global shortage of nurses alongside the removal of the nursing bursary has compounded this figure which now sees 12% of posts through the NHS in England without a full-time Registered Nurse.


Figures from the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) show a 29% overall decline in applications to undergraduate courses since 2015, when the bursary was cut by the Government.

In a report released today titled ‘Standing up for patient and public safety’, the Royal College of Nursing outlines the evidence of the need for a new law that allocates specific legal responsibilities for workforce planning and supply.

A new law is needed.

The report states that in order to address the record number of vacancies, and the gap between the numbers of health and care staff needed to deliver patient care vs. how many are in the system.

Figures included in the report reveal that the number of nursing staff has consistently failed to keep up with the dramatic rise in demand for services and the number of emergency admissions.

The report finally makes a further call for legal clarity on the roles, responsibilities, as well as accountabilities, for workforce planning and supply.

In September, after pressure from RCN members, NHS England and NHS Improvement asked the Government for clarity over who is accountable for the nursing workforce.

‘Nurses are working harder than ever’.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “Nurses are working harder than ever to deliver safe patient care but are being held back by a system that is legally lacking teeth. Despite the public, patients and nurses all agreeing that clarity is needed on responsibilities for delivering enough nurses, we have yet to see any government pledge anything of the like, and as a result are staring down the barrel at a record 43k empty nursing posts.

“We know how dangerous it can be when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care, but at present, almost all accountability rests with the frontline nurse working on the understaffed ward, rather than those responsible for the system they work in.

“We believe the time has come for change and that patient care was future-proofed by law, and that from the government down, decision makers are held to account.

Continue Reading


NHS calls for clarity on who is accountable for the nursing workforce

Figures suggest there are around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies throughout the NHS in England.



Working nurses in the CCU

Healthcare leaders are calling for legislation to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have called on the Government to clarify who is accountable for the nursing workforce and the chronic problems it’s currently facing.

Following ongoing pressure from nursing unions, the two organisations met today and recommend that the government should “revisit with partners whether national responsibilities and duties in relation to workforce functions are sufficiently clear.”


With around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in the NHS in England and thousands more throughout social care, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) believes the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care should be legally accountable for the workforce.

Along with other health care leaders, Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN, written to the Government calling for the legislation proposed by NHS England and NHS Improvement to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

Staff shortages have reached ‘alarming levels’.

Responding to the news, Dame Donna Kinnair said: “We are pleased that NHS England and NHS Improvement has recognised the concerns of RCN members and the public and has stated that the issue of accountability for workforce planning and supply remains an area that needs be resolved.”

“In the week after we have launched a major public facing campaign calling for investment in the nursing workforce as well as for accountability to be clarified in the law, yet again, the case is made for this to be taken seriously.

“We are clear that government is well placed to determine how accountability can be clarified in law.

Adding; “Staff shortages have reached alarming levels with at least 40,000 vacant registered nurse posts in the NHS in England alone with thousands more vacancies in public health and social care.

“We now hope government will listen to this message, as well as the voices of the thousands of members that responded to the NHS England engagement process, and bring forward this legislation, taking the opportunity to include accountability in government and throughout the health and care system, for workforce planning and supply.”

Continue Reading