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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Junior doctors working longer hours

1 April, 2008  

The British Medical Association (BMA) has said staff vacancies mean junior doctors often come under pressure to work extra hours without pay.

Almost a third (29%) of 432 trainee doctors questioned said they are currently working on a rota with at least one vacancy.

The BMA said doctors had told it anecdotally they were forced to work extra hours, often without pay.

But the Department of Health said the problem was not widespread and it was working on solutions.

Pressures could lead to bullying and harassment of junior doctors, the BMA claimed, and pointed to inflexibility in the new medical training system introduced last year.

Ram Moorthy, chairman of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, said: “It’s fundamentally wrong for junior doctors to be pressured into working excessive hours.

“This was a problem that employers and the Government could and should have foreseen, and it’s unfair that doctors are having to prop up rotas without being paid for it.

Dr Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA’s Consultants Committee, said consultants have also taken on extra work because of gaps in staffing.

“Whilst we condemn bullying in any circumstance, consultants and employers must work together constructively to solve this problem and support our junior colleagues at this stressful time,” he said.

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