The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in Wales (AMRCW) whilst supporting the need to raise the issue of sleep deprivation and fatigue amongst doctors, also strongly believes that actions are required. The need for action to combat fatigue, and thereby boost Mental Wellbeing in the medical workforce is especially pertinent to those building, or planning on building new facilities in NHS Wales. The AMRCW believes that stripping out rest facilities and doctors’ messes to cut costs is ultimately a false economy, and goes against the expressed desire of Welsh Government to “Train, Work, and Live” in Wales.
Wales became the first in the UK in 2018 to work towards a “Fatigue and Facilities Charter”. Those recommendations include an accessible mess, and adequate sleep facilities. This charter is supported by Welsh Government, the Welsh NHS confederation, and BMA Cymru Wales. The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething said in 2018 “We are pleased to support the development of a Charter in partnership with the BMA and NHS employers and to work towards its practical implementation to make a real difference to our medical workforce in Wales.”
It would not only be ironic but short sighted to build new facilities in NHS Wales without being cognisant of the need to actually meet the Charters recommendations. This is especially true at a time when the NHS in Wales is struggling to meet medical staffing requirements across many specialty areas. The AMRCW believes a strong position and adherence to the Charter’s recommendations will provide a real boost to recruitment and retention of junior medical staff in Wales which will feed through to better consultant staffing in due course.