Doctors' Working Lives News

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Improving Doctors' Working Lives

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

WTD annual conference / RCP concerns over EWTD impact 
The Working Time Directive annual conference is taking place on the 2nd July 2008 at the ExCel, London. This is free to NHS staff (though a fee may be charged if you cancel at short notice). For more information and to register visit the booking page on the National Workforce Projects website.

The Department of Health's three-month consultation process on proposals for managing applications from non-EU medical graduates closes on 6th May (Tuesday).

The RCP have expressed concerns over EWTD impact on training and patient care, and suggest that more junior doctors and consultants may need to be recruited. (BBC,, OnMedica, Anaesthetics News). Meanwhile, the BMA suggest that 2,000 more consultants are needed to improve patient care and support EWTD hours reductions. (Telegraph) However an OnMedica article challenges the BMA's view, suggesting that only gradual expansion should be pursued. This is echoed in the US by a NEJM article questioning whether expansion of the medical workforce is the right solution to the perceived physician shortage.

A BMA survey finds that 2 in 3 junior doctors fear their training will suffer due to EWTD. (Press Association,, STV - includes video report)

The BMA also say that juniors are being pressured to work extra hours unpaid (BBC, Herald, Telegraph, Independent).

In Ireland, the Chair of the EWTD National Implementation Group suggests that only court action can force real implementation of EWTD. (Irish Medical News) Also in Ireland, the Health Service Executive has refused to fund a pilot project in which consultants worked longer hours in order to allow their junior doctors to reduce their hours for EWTD. The HSE's view was that they would be rendered bankrupt if this scheme was extended to other hospitals. (Irish Health)

In Wales, the Western Mail reports that a major shortage of junior doctors has led to the temporary closure of some hospital services. (icWales)

In Sydney, Australia, junior doctors have given evidence to a public hospital inquiry about lack of training, chronic problems accessing test results, and orders not to claim overtime despite working 12-hour days.


An Imperial College study indicates that laparoscopic skills suffer most on the first night shift of a block, and that adequate preparation for night shifts is essential. (Ann Surg 2008;247(3):530-9)

A Yamaguchi University study has found that a simple sleep education program for medical students can improve knowledge, coping methods and sleep. (Nippon Koshu Eisei Zasshi 2008;55(1):3-10)

An article in the Nursing Standard suggests that naps during the night shift may help prevent errors due to fatigue. (Nurs Stand 2008;22(17):20-1) Nursing Management also has a study on the effect of work hours and sleep on ICU patient care. (Nurs Manage 2008;39(4):32A-32F)

EWTD and women in medicine

Finally, the BMJ has a head-to-head debate on the increasing numbers of women in medicine, which makes startling reading. The Guardian, in an article about workplace gender discrimination, refers to Dr Brian McKinstry's argument that the increase in women doctors is a threat to the medical profession. The Guardian suggests that the EWTD should be used to tackle the culture of discrimination against pregnant women.


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This site is maintained by Ellie Pattinson. All rights reserved. This website is maintained independently of the NHS and the views expressed are not necessarily a reflection of the views of that organisation. For any queries, contributions or amendments, please email me here.