Rest and relaxation spaces: Accessibility and availability for wellbeing of doctors

Kim Walker*, Gill Aitken, Kathryn B Cunningham, Kathrine Gibson Smith, Gillian Scanlan, Jo Cecil, Lisi Gordon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Background The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the wellbeing of healthcare workers at work, with Rest and Relaxation (R&R) spaces being identified as a key facility. However, differences between Scottish doctors exist in perception regarding their availability and accessibility. This research, part of a major study into doctors wellbeing, investigated the existence of dissonance in individual and organisational perceptions regarding the provision of R&R spaces and to identify potential barriers to access.

Methods Data was collected via interviews with hospital doctors across NHS Scotland and questionnaires/Freedom of Information requests to NHS Scotland Regional Health Boards. Data was analysed using content analysis.

Results Hospital doctors (n = 29) from across Scotland and all NHS Scotland Regional Health Boards (NHSBoards) were included in the analysis. Dissonance existed in the perceptions of hospital doctors and NHSBoards regarding the provision of R&R Spaces for NHS Scotland healthcare workers/staff during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. Doctors reported that R&R Spaces had been removed from one-quarter of NHSBoards, whilst NHSBoards stated that R&R Spaces were still available. Barriers to accessing R&R Spaces existed for 16 doctors across 8 NHSBoards which included: Perceived removal of spaces, inconvenient location; lack of awareness of provision; restrictions on access.

Conclusion Our findings suggest that well-publicised initiatives to support staff do not always have the desired outcome. It is not enough to provide R&R spaces; consideration needs to be given to the accessibility and availability of the provision and ensuring all staff are aware of their existence via effective communication.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13542
Pages (from-to)55
Number of pages1
JournalThe Clinical Teacher
Issue numberS2
Early online date28 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2022
EventASM 2022 Future proof medical education: Practical wisdom and adapting to change - Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Jul 20228 Jul 2022


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