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NHS hospitals bring in sleep pods to help tired staff take a break

Help is arriving for overworked NHS staff as a growing number of hospitals bring in sleep pods for doctors and nurses to grab power naps during their shifts.

Pods have been installed or are being trialled by a dozen hospitals in England. Royal Wolverhampton NHS trust was the first to try them, in June 2018. “Too many staff end up exhausted because they have long, busy, sometimes stressful shifts, often with little chance to grab a break because pressure on the NHS is so intense,” said Prof Steve Field, the trust’s chair.

“We know that doctors provide better, safer care when they are fresh and alert. We have found [the pods] to be very popular with staff and also very effective in helping them get more rest,” said Field, a former GP.

Dr Mike Farquhar, a consultant in sleep medicine at the Evelina children’s hospital in London, who has persuaded NHS chiefs to take staff slumber more seriously, said hospitals were finally taking practical action.

“Air traffic controllers are only allowed to work for two hours and then they must take a 30-minute break, because if they were tired and made a mistake, bad things could happen,” he said. “But in the NHS, where the pressure is often high and sustained, the problem is that the people delivering care will usually choose to prioritise everything else – especially patients – over themselves and sacrifice things like breaks and sleep.”

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Source: The Guardian, 3 February 2020


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