Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters European Working Time Directive

Experience of directive in the Netherlands

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 23 September 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1775
  1. Onno T Terpstra, professor of surgery1
  1. 12300 RC Leiden, Netherlands
  1. o.t.terpstra{at}

    When in 1993 the Dutch parliament approved a law restricting the working time of junior doctors to 48 hours a week, the surgical community in the Netherlands experienced all of the classic stages of mourning as described by Kübler-Ross. Major concerns were the reduction in training time, resulting in less experienced young surgeons, and the problems of devising rotas. The same worries are felt in the UK.1

    The Dutch Ministry of Labour …

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