Intended for healthcare professionals


Working time directive puts patients’ lives at risk, surgeons claim

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 03 August 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4212
  1. Lynn Eaton
  1. 1London

    Patients are less safe than they were a year ago, before the introduction of the 48 hour limit on the average working week in the United Kingdom, say respondents to a survey by the Royal College of Surgeons.

    However, the BMA, which has fought for the limit on doctors’ working week, is contesting some of the survey’s claims, citing a report from the now extinct Postgraduate Medical Education Training Board, which states that medical errors linked to overwork are more likely in posts that are not compliant with the directive.

    The board’s report, which was based on responses to the training surveys in 2008-9, before the full 48 hour limit came into operation, showed that trainees who attributed their errors to overwork were in posts that overall were …

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