Long-hours loophole exposed as specialist doctors exceed limits

A
key group of hospital doctors is working far above European limits on hours,
according to the British Medical Association (BMA).

A
BMA survey of more than 2,500 staff and associate specialist (SAS) doctors –
hospital doctors who are not consultants or in training – reveals that those on
full-time contracts work on average 73 hours a week, far in excess of the
European Working Time Directive limit of 48 hours.

There
are around 12,500 SAS doctors in the NHS in the UK and half the doctors
surveyed said they were suffering from low morale. Around one in five is
considering retirement in the next five years.

Mohib
Khan, chairman of the BMA’s SAS committee, said: "It is important that
trusts are not allowed to use staff and associate specialist doctors as the easy
way of dealing with changes to junior doctors’ hours.”

By Michael Millar

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