Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Restricted working hours for new doctors have had little effect in US

Date:
March 22, 2011
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Reducing doctors' working hours from over 80 a week does not seem to have adversely affected patient safety and has had limited impact on postgraduate training in the United States, finds a new study.

Reducing doctors' working hours from over 80 a week does not seem to have adversely affected patient safety and has had limited impact on postgraduate training in the United States, finds a study published on the British Medical Journal website.

Further work is now needed to assess the impact of reducing hours to 48 a week in Europe, say the authors.

There has been a progressive reduction in the working hours of doctors in training in both the US and Europe over the past 20 years. The maximum hours per week for trainees can range from 37 hours in Denmark to 80 hours in the US. The European Working Time Directive (EWTD) restricted the weekly hours for trainee doctors in Europe to 48 from August 2009.

While the aim of such legislation is to improve working conditions and safety, the medical profession has raised concern about the potentially adverse effects on postgraduate training for junior doctors and the provision of high quality care for patients.

So a team of UK-based researchers set out to evaluate the impact of a reduction in working hours on educational and clinical outcomes.

They reviewed 72 published studies from the US and UK and found that a reduction in working hours to less than 80 a week does not seem to have adversely affected patient safety and has had a limited effect on postgraduate training in the US.

However, studies on the impact of European legislation limiting working hours to 48 a week were of poor quality and had conflicting results, meaning that firm conclusions cannot be made, say the authors.

They believe that more high quality studies are urgently needed to evaluate the impact of restricting working hours on objective measures of medical training and patient safety, particularly in the European Union.

"Only then can both the public and the profession be reassured that the standard of medical training, and therefore the future care of patients, is of the highest possible quality and will be maintained or improved over time," they conclude.

Weak evidence, inadequate regulation, busier doctors, and discontinuity of care are all possible explanations for these results, says Leora Horwitz from Yale University School of Medicine in an accompanying editorial. For example, trainees are often asked to do the same amount of work in less time, while the decrease in hours worked has led to a substantial increase in discontinuity of care, handovers, and transfers.

"Without careful and continued attention to these matters, followed by adjustments to regulations and to practice as required, regulation of working hours is unlikely to have the beneficial effects for patients that regulators and the general public had hoped for," she concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. R. Moonesinghe, J. Lowery, N. Shahi, A. Millen, J. D. Beard. Impact of reduction in working hours for doctors in training on postgraduate medical education and patients' outcomes: systematic review. BMJ, 2011; 342 (mar22 1): d1580 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d1580

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Restricted working hours for new doctors have had little effect in US." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110322224321.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2011, March 22). Restricted working hours for new doctors have had little effect in US. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110322224321.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Restricted working hours for new doctors have had little effect in US." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110322224321.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins