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Reduction in working hours alarms junior doctors

European directive on working hours poses threat to junior doctors

OnMedica Staff

Monday, 22 September 2008

The new chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee has vowed to make working hours his key priority.

Dr Andrew Thornley, a Specialist Registrar in cardiology at the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough was elected as the new chairman of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee on Saturday (September 20).
“The reduction in working hours from 56 to 48 hours in August 2009, as part of the European Working Time Directive, represents the biggest challenge the NHS has faced in recent years,” he explained at the meeting.

“With just over 300 days left until junior doctors hours are cut, it is crucial that NHS trusts have robust plans in place as many junior doctors are worried about the implications that the reduction in working hours will have on their training. The involvement of junior doctors in the planning process is essential if we are going to implement what is essential health and safety legislation in a way that minimises disruption to patients and the training of future consultants and GPs.”

Dr Thornley also highlighted his concerns over post graduate medical training:

“In the aftermath of the disastrous recruitment process for junior doctors in 2007, we will have to work hard to ensure next year’s recruitment rounds are fair and allow juniors the best chance to progress with their careers. Critical to the success of this process is the continuing work with the Modernising Medical Careers Programme Board and the formation of NHS:Medical Education England (NHS:MEE). We will have to keep a close eye on NHS:MEE as it is vital that it has sufficient independence and power to impact positively on training.”

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