Posted on February 2020 By James Southwell
Dr Tina Cardoza, Senior Clinical Fellow, at the A&E Staff room in New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton
Being overworked and sleep deprived are two of the biggest concerns NHS staff are facing, but these problems may soon be fixed as hospitals are bringing in sleeping pods for healthcare professionals to take power naps in.
Sleeping pods are being implemented in multiple hospitals across the UK to try and counter act the exhausted staff problem. In June 2018, Royal Wolverhampton NHS trust became the first trust to test trial this new idea which cost them roughly £17,000. Professor Steve Field, the Royal Wolverhampton chair, was fully on board in supporting this by saying ‘staff are ending up exhausted due to long, busy, and often stressful shifts, with often little chance to have any breaks’
The £17,000 has gone towards putting one pod each in the A&E unit, doctors’ mess and maternity department at the New Cross hospital and one more in Cannock Chase hospital. The 850 bed New Cross site also had a recliner chair installed in an alternative to help medics achieve a good level of sleep.
Field, a former GP, weighed in with his opinion of the pods by saying ‘We know doctors are able to provide better and safer care when they’re fresh and alert. We’ve found the pods to be very popular with staff and effective in helping them to get more rest’. The pods are available to all healthcare professionals which includes nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, radiographers etc. Pods in the doctors’ mess being the only exception as they’re to be used by medics still in training. Field described the system as ‘giving staff a place to go to get rest on a 24/7 basis’.
The most popular time for staff to be occupying these pods is midnight till 4am and noon till 4pm. Staff using the pods tend to average between 17 to 24minutes, but some individuals have used the pods for as long as 79 minutes so far according to trust research. They’ve even been found to use them after a nightshift so they can drive home safely and responsibly.