EU working time directive

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7395.929/a (Published 26 April 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:929

More doctors is truly not the answer

  1. Alan R Berry, consultant surgeon (alan@aberry.fsnet.co.uk)
  1. Northampton General Hospital, Northampton NN1 5BD
  2. St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

    EDITOR—In its statement that the European working time directive should be implemented for doctors in training without simultaneously increasing numbers of doctors,1 the Department of Health is revealing a tacit acceptance of lower standards of care for patients. Its recommended alternatives to increasing medical staffing serve only to make the reduction in hours affordable.

    Over the past 10 years, since the first initiative to reduce junior doctors' hours of duty, medical cover on wards has been progressively reduced and the standards of care provided have consequently declined, particularly postoperatively. Consequently problems are detected late, sometimes when corrective action is no longer possible.

    The merit of reducing further the …

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