Fatigue

Fatigue

Doctors have an ethical and medico-legal obligation to provide an acceptable standard of medical care. A doctor's professional obligations are not abrogated by hospital directives or policy. Tired doctors may make errors, fail to spend adequate time with patients, fail to communicate effectively with patients and fail to complete appropriate case notes. Psychological mismanagement of patients can generate complaints and litigation even when the medical management has been exemplary. The impact upon a doctor's professional and private life of receiving a complaint must not be underestimated. The enormity of an error, whether fatigue-related or not, can even lead doctor suicide.

Hospital management has a duty of care in preventing fatigue-related incidents, and a vicarious liability for actions by employees. The hospital also has a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment for its staff. Work-related travel accidents, or events such as needle stick injuries, could result in significant liability issues for hospital management if they occur after excessive periods of duty.


Employers and Employees obligations about Fatigue

In order to understand the workplace health and safety requirements for fatigue, and your obligations under the law you must consider and understand relevant legislation and codes of practice.