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December/January 2009/2010 (vol. 06/4)

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Dilemma: When the working week is over

Should junior doctors be able to work for more than 48 hours a week?

Summary:

Since 1 August, the weekly working time of junior doctors has been capped at 48 hours, bringing them into line with most other workers, including qualified doctors. But are junior doctors now receiving sufficient, high quality training?

Working for a long period makes people tired. Tired people make mistakes. Mistakes in medicine cost lives. If we limit the hours doctors work, patients will be safer. All of this sounds like common sense and is the argument put forward by those who have supported the 48-hour working limits imposed on the NHS in August. However, scratch beneath the surface and…

David Grantham is head of programmes at NHS Employers.

John Black is president of the Royal College of Surgeons in England.

Author: Grantham D, Black J

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Occupational Health at Work December/January 2009/2010 (vol. 06/4) pp28-29

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