Wednesday, 23 May 2012

DOH gets it right

DZ has in the past been ready to hand out brickbats to those high ups in the profession and the NHS who say or do things that indicate a lack of understanding or competence. Various individuals have been described here as people with their head up their arse.

So it’s nice for once to highlight the opposite. Since the working time directive was applied to medical staff the quality of life for doctors has improved enormously in both the training and career positions, but there have also been a lot of dinosaurs in the profession clamouring for a return to the bad old days, particularly for trainees, claiming that training has suffered. It’s been obvious to many that, if training has suffered, and I’m not convinced that it has, then it is because the trainees are being expected to devote too much of their 48 hrs per week to providing the service, rather than training, and that the answer is to move more to a consultant delivered service. This would also lead to an improvement in the quality of service provision.

Well a government committee has just said exactly that, and in doing so reiterated the government’s commitment to retaining the WTD for doctors. Good for them. Perhaps now the throwbacks in our profession will stop harping on about the “good” old days of 80 to 100 hour working weeks.

So hats off to Patricia Hamilton, Christine Outram & Sir Christopher Edwards for doing absolutely the right thing.


  1. Not so quick superhero :).

    The dim and distant past cite that junior doctors themselves wanted to go back to the good old days. One of the issues cited was lack of continuity. Must try and recall the research for all this and write a viewpoint on my blog.


  2. Dr Sarah Wollaston (Totnes) (Con): One year on from the implementation of the European working time directive, there is evidence that patient care is suffering. Handovers have been inadequate in some cases, and junior doctors’ training time has been reduced. Will my right hon. Friend reassure me that he will take action to allow some acute specialities to opt out of the European working time directive?

    Mr Lansley: Yes. I am very clear that, together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, we need to take the European working time directive back to the European Union. We need to discuss it again. We need to go to the European Union with the intention of maintaining the opt-out and of giving ourselves, not least in the health context, the flexibility that we lack, so that junior doctors, in particular, have the capacity to undertake the training that they need. It is not that we want to go back to the past, when there were excessive hours—100-hour weeks and so on—but we want junior doctors to be confident that they will get the training that they require in the period allocated for training.

    Nicked this from Remedy UK's website


  3. Some trainees it is true have been brainwashed into harking back to a system that they have no personal experience of. Most of them, and you too Rita I think are too young to have experienced the true awfulness of the workload trainees used to carry, and which verged on servitude. The committee are clear that training needs to be addressed but this can be achieved within a 48 hr week.
    As for Lansley, the man is more full of shit than a blocked lavvie.

  4. the a&e charge nurse23 May 2012 at 15:12

    So, the problem is lack of 'flexibility' is it - but surely 'flexibility' is no more than a euphemism for dangerous working practices?

    Who would want somebody who had worked a 70, 80, or even 90 hours week (week in week out) making critical clinical decisions about their health care - it is practically a role reversal when it is the poor old sleep deprived junior doc who needs TLC?

  5. damn Z., sometimes you are right maaaan.

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