Letter: In Brief

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The letter welcoming periodic checks on the performance of doctors was written by an airline pilot (February 16). Performance is not a fixed quality. After 17 hours of working, our cognition and attitudes deteriorate; ability to drive equates to reaching the legal limit for alcohol. Even with the development of out-of-hours extended rotas and co-operatives, a maximum shift is still 23 hours. Safety in medicine should, as with pilots, begin with safe working conditions. It is ironic that doctors are excluded from the recent legislation.

Dr JOHN PITTS

Southampton

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