Medicopolitical Digest

Junior doctors oppose 48 hour limit for allJunior doctors want guidelines on study leaveBMA warns Liberal Democrats about shortage of doctorsMore specialties move into new gradeBMA NOTICES

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 05 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:886
  1. Linda Beecham

    Junior doctors oppose 48 hour limit for all

    Junior hospital doctors have conceded that a limit of a 48 hour working week would be impractical for all doctors. At present doctors in training are excluded from the European Union's directive on working time, which specifies a 48 working week. The European Commission is expected to issue a white paper shortly setting out options for the excluded groups. Many junior doctors believe that they should be included but the BMA's Junior Doctors Committee has decided that its policy will remain the target set out in the new deal on hours of work—that is, that by 31 December no junior doctor should be working for more than 56 hours.

    The decision will please those surgical trainees who had criticised the new deal for reducing their training opportunities and believed that the JDC was not representing their interests. The JDC has already agreed to negotiate and promote the use of the “English clause” which enables trainees in appropriate specialties to be contracted for a maximum average of up to 83 hours a week—their hours of actual work should not, however, exceed 56.

    The deputy chairman for hours of work and manpower, Dr Andrew Hobart, supported a motion from a surgical research registrar—“This committee does not wish to see a 48 hour limit on hours of work to be applied to all junior doctors.” There was a case for limiting the hours of preregistration house officers but it would not, he said, “be in the best interest of doctors to restrict hours to …

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