Saturday, 1 August 2009

New EU Working Hours for Doctors

There is a new EU Directive which limits the hours which a doctor can work. However, there are junior doctors out there who are pressurised to work long hours but lied about their working hours to meet the new guidelines. It was also reported that the new directive will cause chaos to the NHS particularly in this time where they need to tackle swine flu. There will also be a longer waiting time for patients as doctors can only do so much in 48 hours per week instead of the used-to-be 56 hours a week. Every minute and second counts and with such a ruling, it will put pressure on every single doctor to perform their task faster.

However, there is no clear cut of how things could be done better. Every single operation will take time to perform and rushing will do no good to a patient. I am in doubt as to whether the EU Commission have taken into account all the possibilities which might affect a doctor or a patient in waiting or being treated. Just think about it. Rushing to complete a job might cause more mistakes to arise from doctors as they are racing against time. Patient safety might be at risk particularly for those who are giving birth. Have they ever thought about the risk? What about the impact of the new EU Working Time Directive on doctors dealing with swine flu then? UK have chosen to "opt-out" of the directive back in 2003 but they have to stick by the rules of the EU Commission as it is declared valid by the ECJ.

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