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Doctors in Norway see 45 hour week as sufficient for medical training

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g6036 (Published 02 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6036
  1. Tom Moberly, editor, BMJ Careers

Hospital doctors in Norway work 45 hours a week on average, and most believe that this allows sufficient time for all obligatory training, a team of researchers has found.

Judith Rosta and colleagues from the Norwegian Medical Association found that from 1994 to 2012 the weekly working hours for doctors in Norway did not change. “The average number of weekly working hours has always been below the EWTD [European working time directive] requirements,” they said.

The researchers collected data on self reported average weekly working hours from a cohort of over 1300 doctors from 1994 to 2012 and found that junior doctors worked an average of 45-46 hours, while senior doctors worked an average of 46-47 hours.

“Norwegian hospital doctors work shorter hours than hospital doctors in other comparable countries, but the majority perceive the present situation with an average of 45 hours per week as sufficient for obligatory postgraduate specialist training,” the researchers said. “An increase in hospital doctor density over the past two decades, national regulations, and cultural values might be important factors for these.”

The results were presented at last month’s International Conference on Physician Health in London, hosted by the BMA, the American Medical Association, and the Canadian Medical Association.

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