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Health News

Long shifts 'put doctors at risk'

Tired junior doctors are putting their lives in danger by driving home after long, "inhumane" shifts, delegates at a British Medical Association conference said yesterday.

Hospitals were accused of removing rest rooms and imposing rotas which mean "doctors are not always safe to drive home after night shifts". The BMA's junior doctors conference passed a motion yesterday demanding a campaign for free access to hospital accommodation and transport for doctors when they finish a night shift.

Dr Andrew Collier, deputy chairman of the BMA's junior doctor committee, said: "In the extreme, junior doctor's rotas mean they could be working up to 12 days on 14-hour night shifts."

Simon Burns, the health minister, backed the call for doctors to be given time to rest. "Safety of patients, and the doctors who treat them, is of the utmost importance in the NHS," he said.