31/07/2009

Doctors Hours Must Be Cut: BMA

Despite pressures - such as escalating levels of swine flu - the local GP's representatives are adamant that NI doctors must be fully included in next month's enforced maximum working hours directive.

With the implementation of the 48-hour working week for workers throughout Europe, including doctors, on 1 August, the BMA in Northern Ireland has said that it will insist that the health service must meet its obligations to implement the European Working Time Directive (EWTD).

Dr Brian Patterson, Chairman of the BMA's Northern Ireland Council (pictured) said: "On the eve of the implementation of EWTD, we understand that approximately 80% of doctors in Northern Ireland are working within the time limit of 48 working hours per week.
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"While acknowledging the huge challenge that is the change required to comply with the new directive, employers have had 10 years to prepare," he said.

"Doctors are concerned that patient services could be affected in trusts that have not properly prepared for the working time directive."

Dr Patterson continued: "We continue to have grave concerns because of the gaps in local junior doctor rotas. We will insist on real compliance by employers," he continued.

"Solutions rely on hospital managers working with doctors to ensure that doctors' time is best used and all training opportunities are maximised.

"It will also need a movement to a health service that is more reliant on an expanded consultant workforce, which will benefit patients and the profession as a whole," he concluded.

(BMcC/KMcA)


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