"Dangerous levels of doctor fatigue"
About: Derby Hospital Derby Hospital Derby 6728
Posted by Be Alarmed (as ),
This year I have had a medical problem that has meant a quite a lot of visits to Derby Hospital.
I saw a different doctor each time. I was shocked to find that each of these doctors was working an exhausting roster. The first doctor I saw in A&E had not had a day off for 6 weeks. The next doctor had not had a day off for 5 weeks. The next doctor was only here for a short time but after just a few days had dark circles under the eyes, having been rostered on during the day and on-call at night. This seemed to be going on for the whole time that doctor was here. Another doctor said that they just did not get any time to recover from the demanding nature of the work at Derby. One doctor told me that the situation was dangerous.
I was told that one reason for this treatment of temporary doctors is money - it costs the hospital the same whether the doctor is on duty or not, so Hospital Management likes to get it’s moneys worth. I don’t understand why Derby’s longer term doctors are treated this way. Is this State Health Department policy?
I would expect that Hospital Management owed its most important staff -doctors of all levels - a duty of care. How can Derby hospital expect to attract new and long term doctors like this?
The effect on patient care is a concern as this study shows:
Moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication.
(The National Center for Biotechnology Information, USA)
A lot of patients in Derby are Aboriginal and have complicated health problems and many do not have English as a first language so extra time and care is needed to communicate properly.
The result of my own treatment was, as told to me by one doctor, “not very good”. I will never know if it might have been better if every doctor had not been fatigued.
Meanwhile, maybe the old saying still applies: “when in pain, catch a plane”.