Letter: Junior doctors overstretched by hours cut

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Sir: Your article "Ministers want doctors to work 83-hour weeks" may have led Dr Rogers (letters, 30 November) to draw the wrong conclusions.

My commitment to reducing junior doctors' hours is as strong as ever and I reinforced this point during a speech I made at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, last week. We have made enormous progress since we launched the New Deal initiative in 1991 and the old culture which demanded regular 100-hour weeks is a thing of the past.

In the coming weeks we shall be outlining the strategy to build on what has already been achieved and to target those problem areas that still remain. The New Deal has greatly improved the lives of the many junior doctors who are now working more civilised hours. This achievement is principally due to the consultants, managers and task forces determined to make it possible.

GERALD MALONE

Minister for Health

Department of Health

London SW1

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