Letter

EWTD has negative impact on training for surgeons

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7530.1476-a (Published 15 December 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1476
  1. Mohiemen Anwar, senior house officer, ear, nose, and throat medicine (dr_mohiemen{at}hotmail.com),
  2. Shabina Irfan, senior house officer, ear, nose, and throat medicine,
  3. Niall Daly, consultant, ear, nose, and throat medicine,
  4. Furrat Amen, specialist registrar, ear, nose, and throat medicine
  1. West Middlesex University Hospital, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 6AF
  2. West Middlesex University Hospital, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 6AF

    EDITOR—Devey expressed concerns about the future of training with the advent of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) and the modernising medical careers initiative.1 We have just completed a national survey of 100 senior house officers in ear, nose, and throat medicine to assess the impact of the directive on training.

    We found that most of them had their shift pattern changed from an on-call rota (29%) to a partial shift rota (70%). In all, 54% of senior house officers in ear, nose, and throat medicine cross covered other specialties. Sixty three per cent thought that the directive had reduced their training; 31% denied receiving any regular allocated teaching sessions from their seniors. The most important finding was that 71% of these senior house officers were willing to opt out of the directive to safeguard care for patients and their training.

    The summary effect of all these changes is to destroy the apprenticeship model of surgical training by separating senior house officer from consultant, and to ensure that ear, nose, and throat patients are cared for, at least partly, by doctors or dentists who have had little or no training in the specialty. To preserve quality of care, and surgical training for the patients of tomorrow we must act now to secure an opt-out for surgeons from the EWTD.

    Footnotes

    • Competing interests None declared.

    References

    1. 1.
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