Friday, October 06, 2006

No surprises here then

Saw this story originally in the London Lite paper on my way home from work last night, and subsequently on the BBC News homepage. It goes like this...

Junior medics have more 'crashes'.
Junior doctors are being put at increased risk of road traffic accidents because of exhaustion.
A survey of 1,619 junior doctors by the Royal College of Physicians found that one in six had a road traffic accident when commuting in 2004-05.
Returning from a night shift was found to be most risky, although half of accidents happened on the way to work.
The College warned that working patterns were to blame with doctors doing too many night shifts in a row.
The annual survey of specialist medical registrars found that 264 of the doctors questioned had a road traffic accident - 134 when driving to work and 130 when returning from work.
Although more of the doctors who crashed on their way home had been working a day shift rather than a night shift, the overall risk of crashing was far higher for those who had worked through the night.
Doctors only work about one night in 10, but 56 of the doctors who reported an accident on the way home were returning from a night shift and 74 from a day shift.
The introduction of the European Working Time Directive in 2004 means that doctors no longer work more than an average of 56 hours in a week.
But the RCP said despite attempts to reduce working hours, poorly designed rotas left almost half of doctors working seven 13-hour shifts in a row, resulting in a 91-hour week.
It recommends hospitals switch to a nine-hour shift pattern rather than 13 hours, with fewer shifts in succession.
The rest of the article is on the BBC webpage, via the link above.

What gets me, is they actually call this news! Every medic up and down the country knew this and I'm sure it came as no surprise to the families of medics. The European Working Time Directive was meant to be a great rule that would see junior doctors work no more than 56 hours a week and one night shift in 10. Basically it was never going to be possible. Junior doctors are relied on heavily to do on-call work, lots of shifts and the evil over-nighters. They were never going to be tucked up in bed at 10pm with a cup of cocoa even with an EU order over them. Hospitals have found ways round the maximum 56 hour week and junior doctors are still working anti-social, overworked shift patterns. It comes with the territory as a medic.

In other news, I found a job in an Accident & Emergency department in this Southern neck of the woods. It feels bizarre to be back around the area that I trained in, but good because the department is amazing! Fiance is off to the battlefield come the New Year and I'm panicking slightly about that, but I've seen him go off before and return in one piece, so I'm sure this time will be no different.

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