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Safe hours survey on now: win an iPad2

The 2011 AMA Safe Hours Survey runs from 8 August to 14 August. If you are a junior and salaried doctor (including GP registrars) the AMA is asking you to get involved. Mark it in your diary, wait for your AMA email with the link then log in and log your hours, calculate your fatigue risk and help contribute to safer work environments for everyone.

Everyone who completes the survey also goes into the draw to win an iPad 2. Start the survey now.

The more doctors we have logging in, the stronger our case for real change in staffing levels and rostering practices. Let’s see if we can reach 1000, to help the AMA in its continued lobbying of governments and workplaces for safe work hours. The larger the survey base, the more impact we can make.

When you have completed the survey you can access an instant risk assessment report, which shows an analysis of the fatigue risks of your roster. AMA Victoria can then give member doctors advice on the risks of their rosters as well as take up individual complaints.

Safe hours and working patterns are critical for doctor and patient wellbeing. Recent cases have shown that long working hours and inadequate periods of rest can be contributing factors in some tragic patient outcomes. Research worldwide continues to highlight the potential dangers to patient and doctor safety that accompany doctor fatigue, with evidence suggesting that the performance impairment of an doctor after a period of heavy on-call is equivalent to that of performance when blood alcohol concentration is 0.04–0.05 per cent.

The online AMA Safe Hours Survey has been developed in conjunction with the AMA Council of Doctors in Training, the AMA Council of Salaried Doctors and state/territory AMAs. This is the third online national survey collecting data on working hours over this nominated week, and is a key element in the AMA Safe Hours Campaign. This ongoing campaign is based on the AMA’s National Code of Practice – Hours of Work, Shiftwork and Rostering for Hospital Doctors. This Code of Practice was first adopted by AMA Federal Council in 1999 and was developed through a thorough consultation process with the medical and hospital sector. The work of the AMA now stands as the accepted standard for safe working hours for doctors in Australia and is referenced by standards organisations such as the Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care, the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards and Postgraduate Medical Education Councils. 

In 2006, the AMA analysed the risk levels of over 550 public hospital doctors. The 2006 survey found that many hospital doctors continue to have working hours and work patterns that pose unsafe risks of fatigue. The survey revealed that the hours and patterns of work for 62% of hospital doctors fell into significant risk and higher risk categories. 

Many employers have now taken measures to review their medical rostering and work practices in the light of the AMA’s Safe Hours campaign. It is now time to review the progress that has been made and the results of the 2011 on-line survey will be published in a nation-wide report. . This will be compared to earlier reports to assess whether the limited improvements seen between 2001 and 2006 have been sustained.

The AMA will email members with a link to the on-line survey form just prior to the survey period. The email will include instructions on how to complete the survey, which should take around 10 minutes.

Read more about the previous AMA Safe Hours survey, and the AMA's Position Statement on the Health and wellbeing of doctors and medical students.


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