Research Article

How should a consultant spend his time?

Br Med J 1978; 2 doi: (Published 23 December 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;2:1763
  1. T L Dunn,
  2. D J Attwood


    The activities of a whole-time consultant psychiatrist with clinical, teaching, and administrative responsibilities were analysed over six weeks. With the exclusion of time spent on call at night and weekends he worked an average of 57.4 hours a week. Altogether 42.3% of his time was spent on clinical work, 25.5% on general administration, and 24.0% on tutorial activities. Although he discharged his duties as well as might reasonably be expected, his clinical work was thought to have suffered. Postgraduate activities and medical administrations are important in the ultimate care of patients, but the structure of the National Health Service does not enable a consultant to meet all these demands adequately.