Intended for healthcare professionals


Give us a break

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 06 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l481
  1. Cat Chatfield, quality improvement editor1,
  2. Abi Rimmer, careers editor1
  1. 1The BMJ, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: A Rimmer arimmer{at}

Join The BMJ’s campaign for adequate rest breaks for doctors

Have you ever worked a whole shift without a toilet break? Or worked through your morning session into lunchtime and beyond without stopping to eat? Or got into your car at the end of a night shift and wondered how you were going to drive home safely?

The chances are that you have. These are not unusual scenarios for doctors working in the NHS or any other overstretched health system. Worryingly, for some staff these scenarios have become the norm. This is not acceptable. Missing essential breaks is bad for doctors and their patients.

The 2016 Royal College of Physicians’ report, Being a Junior Doctor, found that doctors were unable to take adequate breaks and described an absence of suitable rest areas.1 This was despite evidence that rest breaks contribute to the provision of safe care.1 The doctors spoken to also reported that lack of non-clinical spaces such as meeting rooms or seating areas where …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription