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UK junior doctors suffer training squeeze

A BMA survey shows that almost half of UK doctors are missing out on essential training since the implementation of the 48-hour week in 2009

A British Medical Association (BMA) survey shows that almost half of UK doctors are missing out on essential training, since the implementation of the 48-hour week in August 2009.

Exploring the impact the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) has had on training, the BMA says that the erosion of junior doctors' training could seriously undermine the ability of the NHS to provide high quality patient care in the future.

In the survey, of the doctors who reported missing out on training opportunities, three-quarters had not been able to attend lectures and training days, and six in ten had missed out on supervision and opportunities to complete new procedures. Two in five respondents have felt compelled to come into work in their own time to get the formal training needed to do their jobs.

Dr Shree Datta, chair of the BMA's Junior Doctors Committee said: "Hospitals must devise ways of providing structured training alongside the delivery of patient care. They need to work with their junior doctors to devise rotas that meet the needs of the patients but also the training requirements of juniors. We must cut out unnecessary bureaucracy and inappropriate work to allow junior doctors to get the training they need."

The BMA also casts doubt on government claims that 99 per cent of doctors are compliant with the working time directive.  According to the survey, half of all junior doctors are still working in excess of 56 hours a week and one in three are working in excess of 65 hours a week. Over half of juniors surveyed said they were under pressure to work additional hours that are not recorded.

Dr Datta added: "The government would have us believe that the 48-hour week has been successfully implemented in UK hospitals. Our survey reveals that compliance has only been achieved by pressurising junior doctors into working off the clock."

1st March 2010

From: Healthcare

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