Saturday, 1 August 2009

European rules to prevent doctors from working long hours introduced in UK


The European Working Time Directive, which prevents employees from working more than 48 hours per week has been applied by the UK government to junior doctors. Organisations responsible for training doctors have said that the legislation will limit opportunities for training, but the government believes that the requirement has already been met by 97% of the NHS. A spokesman from the BMA (the body that represents doctors) has stated many doctors may be pressurised to lie about how many hours they are actually working.

  • Is it resonable for a government to limit the number of hours that individuals work?
  • Was it safe for doctors to work up to 100 hours per week as was the case in the past?
  • Individual doctors can still opt out of this legislation and work more than teh 48 hours. Is this acceptable?
  • How can it be checked that doctors are not either being encouraged to opt out, or lie about the number of hours worked?
  • If a patient received ineffective (or perhaps life-threatening) treatment from a doctor who had been pressurised into opting out from the Working Time Directive, who should be held responsible?

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