Sleep Pods To Be Installed In NHS Hospitals To Give Medical Staff A Break
They were first tested out by Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust in June 2018, and their trust chair was certainly in favour of the scheme.
Professor Steve Field told The Guardian: "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."
So, to combat this fatigue, they spent £17,000 on each pod and installed them in New Cross Hospital's A&E department, the maternity department, and the doctors' mess.
Another was also put into Cannock Chase hospital, which is also run by the trust.
As well as that, they also stuck a reclining chair in the New Cross premises to offer a secondary option for medical staff to grab some quick kip.
Field continued: "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.
"Staff now have places to go to get the rest they need on a 24/7 basis."
The pods and chairs are available to any healthcare staff who feel like they need to grab a short sleep, that means that doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, midwives, and radiographers can catch a nap.
However, the pod in New Cross' doctors' mess is only for medics that are in training.
Research shows that the most popular time to use the pods is between midnight and 4AM, but also noon and 4AM.
Most of the people who use them stay for between 17 and 24 minutes, but some have used them for up to 79. They're also popular amongst staff who want to rest up before driving home.
That can only be a good thing.
Dr Mike Farquhar, a sleep medicine consultant at London's Evelina Children's Hospital, said: "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,
"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."
The chief people officer of NHS England, Prerana Issar, added: "I'm delighted that so many trusts are now taking action to make sure their staff can rest before or after a long and tiring shift.
"Staff are the heart of our health service, which is why as part of the long-term plan we are committed to making the NHS the best place to work, and offering comfortable sleeping spaces is one of the ways hospitals and other services can support clinicians to provide the outstanding care the NHS is known for."
Featured Image Credit: Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust