Medicopolitical Digest

Minister urges reduction in juniors' working hoursBMA says rabies rules should stayAll career registrars will transfer to specialist registrar gradeCommunity care is blocking beds, doctors say

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 22 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:266
  1. Linda Beecham

    Minister urges reduction in juniors' working hours

    The minister for health, Mr Gerald Malone, has told chairmen of trusts, district health authorities, and family health services authorities that he will adhere to the target in the new deal on junior doctors' hours that all non-hard pressed on call posts contracted for more than 72 hours will be eliminated by December 1996. Although the target date for eliminating hard pressed posts contracted for over 72 hours was December 1994 the minister has admitted that 764 juniors were still in such posts in February.

    He has asked chairmen to concentrate on reducing the actual working hours of junior hospital doctors. He says in a letter earlier this month that doctors should not be asked to undertake hours of duty that made it inevitable that they would work longer than 56 hours a week--for example, through early starts and late finishes. He has asked chairmen to look at the arrangements and relationships of all the staff in a department to achieve this aim. Mr Malone points out that the only satisfactory way to ensure that juniors did not work too long was to secure proper rest periods, which were not constantly interrupted.

    The minister admits that partial shifts were unpopular with some doctors and managers but he suggests that this might be the appropriate working pattern to avoid unacceptable work intensity of on call rotas. Regional taskforces will be asked to work with chairmen to disseminate good practice on partial shifts.

    Mr Malone has emphasised the importance of involving juniors in monitoring, implementing, and developing new working practices.

    The minister has also pointed out that purchasers have a direct interest in …

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