Junior doctors are being asked to work long hours in defiance of the European Working Time Directive
Junior doctors are being asked to work long hours in defiance of the European Working Time Directive

Junior doctors work 100 hours before they get a day off

An investigation found that nine out of 11 Scottish health boards expected their junior staff to work for as many as 12 days straight

Caroline Mortimer@cjmortimer
Monday 12 October 2015 14:22

Junior doctors in Scottish hospitals are working more than 100 hours before they get a day off.

An investigation into the 2011 death of a 23-year-old junior doctor killed in a car crash, Lauren Connelly, found she had been working long hours at the Inverclyde Royal hospital which may have contributed to her death.

Dr Connelly was killed just seven weeks into her medical career.

Her father, Brian, revealed in the weeks leading up to her death that she had covered long hours - including one stretch where she worked 107 hours in 12 days.

Since his daughter’s death, Mr Connelly has been campaigning for health boards to properly enforce the European Working Time Directive which guarantees employees cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours a week.

But new figures obtained by the Glasgow Herald under Freedom of Information laws show that nine out of 11 of the main Scottish health boards were still asking junior doctors to work more than 12 days in a row.

The health authority which employed Dr Connelly, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, was said by the newspaper to be one of the worst offenders, asking its doctors to work 114 hours at work between days off.

The boards told the Herald junior doctors were only rarely asked to work these hours and these sorts of rotas were due to be phased out early next year.

The Scottish government set a target to reduce the number of back-to-back day shifts to seven by February but so far only one trust, NHS Forth Valley, has met it.

The NHS Borders health trust has reduced it to nine days.

It comes as junior doctors across the UK are preparing to strike over plans to cut their overtime pay by up to 30 per cent.

Dr Kitty Mohan, co-chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, told The Independent that the doctors felt "palpable anger and frustration" over the plans.

Dr Clifford Mann, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said the proposed changes had implications for “the future of medicine and patient care as a whole”.

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