Having been unable to buy a copy of today’s The Independet I decided to browse the online edition of the paper and I came accross this story, which I found very concerning.
The British Medical Association is claiming that up to half of the Junior Doctors working within the NHS are currently being pressured into working unpaid overtime. The BMA also claims that this is putting patients at risk (which I do not doubt: long hours = tiredness = < mistakes).
The European Working Time Directive comes into force in August 2009, cutting the number of hours in a working week to 48 (it is already in place for many employees outside of the Health Services). The Newspaper claims that, in research published by the BMA, doctors are regularly working an extra 20-30 hours a week, often unpaid.
The Newspaper goes on to say: “the findings come after The Independent on Sunday first reported the national shortage of junior doctors resulting from a new recruitment system.” I know people who have went through this recruitment system and say it is horrible (but maybe this is a post for another time).
The newspaper report gets even more concerning when it reports of both implicit and explicit threats to block careers and that these extra hours are often worked and not recorded so as to avoid financial penalties for the Trust.
This is definitely going to be interesting to watch pan out of the next 18 months.