Doctors' Working Lives News

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Improving Doctors' Working Lives

Thursday, June 05, 2008

NCEPOD: Heart surgery's safer at night - because it's done by consultants 

The new NCEPOD report says that heart surgery is actually safer at night - but only because you're more likely to see a consultant out of hours than you are during the day. According to the Independent, 17 per cent of in-hours operations were carried out by junior doctors compared with under 1 per cent at night, and this has led to better quality of care out of hours. However, the report also notes that mortality is more related to poor assessment and inadequate handover than lack of technical skill.

The BMJ looks at widening participation in medicine to include those from different backgrounds who had not managed to achieve top grades. However, the accompanying editorial, which takes a critical view of the push to increase diversity in medicine, has raised eyebrows and ire. "Shame the smug doctors", demanded the Daily Mirror, while a subsequent BMJ article here wondered whether the Mirror had just misunderstood the statistics in the original editorial.

A report by the King's Fund and the Royal College of Physicians suggests that doctors should be able to choose a career pathway in both medicine and management, reports the BMJ.

In New Zealand, junior doctors have been on strike due to an ongoing pay dispute. has a thorough article on the dispute - and the comments below the article by clinical staff are well worth reading for alternative insights into the situation.

A pilot study at Bradford Teaching Hospitals suggests that interruptions and distractions are the main reasons for drug errors, reports the BMJ.

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