DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad241.469 ISSN:

274 Human Factors in Surgery: The experience of the junior doctors

Chon Sum Ong, Kestra Dawson, Anil Lala
  • Surgery



Healthcare is a dynamic and complex sociotechnical system. Human factor principles have been recognised to improve care delivery and patient safety.


To determine if the workload among foundation doctors working in the surgical department was excessive leading to burnout and to propose solutions.


A retrospective audit was performed in a general surgical department at a District General Hospital. Data were collected for 3 months in 2022 from the patient record system.


There were 7 consultant-led teams in the surgical department comprising a surgical registrar and senior house officer. 6 of them have a foundation doctor each. The number of on-calls (13-hour shift from Monday-Thursday or Friday-Sunday) has a median of 5. In August, the cumulative patients under the care of a team ranged from 57 to 300. In September, the number ranged from 77 to 277. In October, the number ranged from 98 to 302.


The number of patients under the care of different teams varied greatly which signified some foundation doctors might have more workload. The workload should be ideally consistent and sustainable to optimise patient care. The next step would to be assess their burnout risk using Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). With the data, the aim would be to create measures for decreasing or sharing the cognitive workload. If the occupational stressors are not addressed, the rippling effect could be detrimental to both the healthcare workers and patients.

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