OTTAWA, June 27, 2013 /CNW/ - The National Steering Committee on
Resident Duty Hours has released Canada's first comprehensive,
collaborative and evidence-based report on the hotly debated issue of
how much fatigue is too much fatigue for Canada's approximately 12,000
"Residents are essential members of our health system, working long
hours, and fatigue impacts their physical and mental health," said Dr.
Kevin Imrie, co-chair of the national steering committee and
Physician-in-Chief at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. "This report
provides clear recommendations to help ensure residents are healthy and
fit to provide the highest quality of patient care to Canadians."
Traditionally, resident physicians have worked a variety of lengthy
shifts, a practice that has come under increasing scrutiny. With
funding from Health Canada, the national steering committee brought
together nine health care organizations and experts for Canada's first
cross-jurisdictional effort to find consensus on the critical health
and safety issue of resident duty hours.
Across Canada, no single standard exists about how many resident duty
hours are appropriate or safe because each of our multiple health
jurisdictions has unique standards.
"Canadian health care is too complex, and the differences between
disciplines and jurisdictions too great for a 'one size fits all'
solution," said Dr. Jason Frank, co-chair of the national steering
committee. "What's more, evidence suggests that work hours are only one
piece of the puzzle. A much broader approach is needed."
The report stresses the status quo is not acceptable and that shifts of
24 hours or longer without restorative sleep should be avoided. Among
its recommendations, the report urges all provinces and health care
institutions to develop comprehensive strategies to minimize fatigue
and fatigue-related risks during residency. Also proposed: changes
to accreditation standards, increased use of simulation and skills
training for the safe handover of patient information.
This broad approach is crucial. Based on the available evidence,
restricting resident duty hours alone will not improve patient safety.
A successful approach must address all of the many factors that
contribute to fatigue.
"Fatigue is more than how many hours are worked. It's also the type of
work being done, the intensity of workload and many other factors," Dr.
Imrie said. "We need to better manage fatigue, create more effective
call schedules and do a better job of designing our training programs
in order to create positive, lasting change."
More information is available at www.residentdutyhours.ca.
About the National Steering Committee on Resident Duty Hours
The National Steering Committee on Resident Duty Hours is composed of
national health care organizations and experts involved in Canadian
postgraduate medical education, including the Federal, Provincial and
Territorial Committee on Health Workforce, Association of Canadian
Academic Healthcare Organizations, Association of Faculties of Medicine
of Canada - Postgraduate Deans, Canadian Association of Internes and
Residents, College of Family Physicians of Canada, Canadian Medical
Association, Collège des médecins du Québec, Fédération des médecins
résidents du Québec and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of
Canada. For more information, visit www.residentdutyhours.ca.
SOURCE: National Steering Committee on Resident Duty Hours
For further information:
Tel. 613-830-4766, cell 613-724-0412,