Fatigue, risk and excellence: Towards a pan-Canadian consensus on resident duty hours

Launched in early 2012 as a response to Canadian and international debate regarding the number of hours worked by physicians in training, this collaborative project aimed to address the significant implications for delivery of care to patients and patient safety. The project brought together key stakeholder organizations and experts in postgraduate medical education to gather their expertise and experience.

Key objectives

  • The project sought to assemble the available evidence surrounding hours worked by Canadian physicians and surgeons in residency training.
  • With this evidence, the National Steering Committee on Resident Duty Hours forged a path towards a pan-Canadian statement on issues surrounding resident duty hours, directions, and best practices that lead to optimal patient care and training for the 21st century.

Final report

Safe patient care and resident well-being is the driving force behind the final report (available on request), Towards a Pan-Canadian Consensus on Resident Duty Hours, which makes clear recommendations on resident duty hours for residents, educators, administrators and governments across Canada. The result is a ground-breaking blueprint intended to shape Canadian postgraduate medical education, now and in the future.

Recognizing that the status quo is not acceptable, the report took an innovative approach by focusing on fatigue-risk-management. Members of the National Steering Committee on resident Duty Hours established and agreed to a collective, pan-Canadian response: Five Key Principles. See also recommendations for resident duty hours.

Beyond Duty Hour Regulation

The Final Report, Fatigue, Risk, and Excellence: Towards a Pan-Canadian Consensus on Resident Duty Hours, provides clear guidelines to help all provinces and jurisdictions ensure residents are healthy and fit to provide the highest quality of patient care. We hope all bodies in residency education come together to embrace these recommendations and support this new path forward to optimize patient care and educational outcomes. To facilitate implementation of the recommendations, a project was launched in 2014 to create a fatigue risk management toolkit for residents, leaders, and policy makers in Canadian Postgraduate Medical Education.