Reductions in doctor's hours could lead to poor patient care

Dated:

The European Working Time Directive was introduced in August this year. The aim is to prevent junior doctors from working more than 48 hours a week.

The government says that the new regulation will have no impact on services. However, the British Medical Association (BMA), which represents doctors, said many NHS Trusts were not properly prepared for these changes.

As a direct result, the standard of patient care in those unprepared hospitals may well deteriorate as a result of the lack of doctors available and a lack of continuity of care.

The availability of clinics and services may also be reduced as the doctors are no longer available to run them.

As doctors will drop from an 80hr week to a 48hr week they may no longer receive an appropriate amount of training in specialist areas such as surgery and as a result of the lost training time it may be the case that patient care could be put at risk.

Having carried out a survey, The Royal College of Surgeons have indicated that the rapid changes in shifts mean that nobody is taking personal responsibility for patients. "No rapport is built with the patient and no responsibility is assumed by a junior for the patient care. An unmitigated disaster."

This article was written by Helen Donaghy, Medical Negligence Team

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