Letter: Jobless doctors

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I accept that fatigue of a surgeon may pose an additional risk. However, in addition to the imposed duties of an NHS contract, the overwhelming majority of consultant surgeons are engaged in private practice. Commitments in this area will obviously increase fatigue, have the potential to conflict with NHS responsibilities and are likely to be more time-consuming and intrusive than equivalent activity in the NHS, because of the lack of dedicated junior staff in the private sector.

In a competing market for private practice, reluctance to increase consultant numbers at a local level has often come from the consultants themselves.