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Views & Reviews Laying Foundations

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BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 01 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2708
  1. Oliver Ellis, foundation year 1 doctor, Mersey Deanery
  1. oli.ellis{at}

“We lived for three months in a rolled up newspaper in a septic tank. We used to have to get up every morning at six o’clock and clean the newspaper, go to work down the mill, fourteen hours a day, week-in week-out, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt.”1

Every time doctors tell me about their working hours before the European working time directive came into force I think of Monty Python’s Four Yorkshiremen sketch, in which the surrealist troupe try to outdo each other …

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