Letter: Doctors who still face excessive hours

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Department of Health's announcement of additional new consultant posts to help to reduce the excessive hours worked by junior hospital doctors (24 March) is welcome. These new posts are particularly necessary in view of the difficulties that the NHS is experiencing in the process of hours reduction.

Some 1,108 recently qualified doctors in England answered our post questionnaire on their education and workload in December 1992 and January 1993. Of those on on-call rotas, 211 (19 per cent) were working more than 83 hours per week. Yet the NHS Management Executive set a target that no doctor would work these many hours after 1 April 1993. Unless dramatic progress has been made in the weeks since our fieldwork, the Government's target will not be achieved for nearly a fifth of these doctors.

Yours faithfully,

JONATHAN GILLARD

THOMAS DENT

Cambridge

24 March

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