Doctors fear hospitals will suffer under reduced hours law

Nearly 70 per cent of
doctors believe their local hospital will not be able to cope when European
legislation reduces junior doctor hours next August.

A snapshot opinion poll of 96
doctors on the British Medical Association’s (BMA) ‘Doctors Decide’ panel answered
the e-mail questionnaire.

The BMA said it sees the hour
changes as essential to prevent doctors making mistakes because they are
overtired but says the Government has left it very late to pilot ways of
dealing effectively with the new system.

The BMA also claims that
three-quarters of the country’s hospitals are already ignoring doctors’ rights
under domestic arrangements agreed over a decade ago.

Maximum hours, standards of
accommodation and minimum rest requirements were agreed in 1991. Trusts who do
not comply could have training posts taken away.

Under the terms of the 1991 New
Deal, junior doctors should not be on their feet working for more than 56 hours
a week, or do more than 72 hours of total work (including time spent on call).

By Michael Millar

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