London - A 48 hour week is decent amount of work to train interns without sacrificing the quality of the training. This is the opinion of Sarah Gibb, Member of, and Andrew Hartle, President of. They published corresponding review in the British Medical Journal ().
Since the introduction of the European working time guidelines in Great Britain in 2009, resident doctors have been allowed to work maximum of 48 hours per week. The directive should reduce the workload and prevent errors in patient care from overworked doctors. However, the initiative is not welcomed on all sides. Critics assume that high-quality training for aspiring specialists is not always guaranteed in 48-hour week.
The authors of the studies argue against this assessment. There is an example of corresponding working time models with good quality training from Norway. Comparable working time regulations with an average of 45 hours per week have existed there since 1980. Studies have shown that these doctors are very satisfied with their own training. Reduced workload and supervision were found to be key factors for effective training.
The authors of the study see opt-out solutions in which longer working hours can be contractually agreed critical. There is fear that personnel bottlenecks will have to be compensated for by the assistant doctors and that the additional working hours will not be used for training.
Andrew Goddard was critical of the shorter working weeks. Shorter working hours are often not enough for doctors in some disciplines and for young professionals in hospitals. A study by the Royal College has shown that half of all training doctors believe that the introduction of the 48-hour week has reduced the quality of training. In addition, 44 percent of the interns surveyed felt that they had not been adequately trained after their regular core training.
In Great Britain, the number of special medical interventions was also continuously falling. For example, between 1998 and 2002, compared to 2010 and 2014, the number of bronchoscopies per doctor fell by 36 percent. In the long term, this could reduce the doctors' practical experience and lead to increased complication rates, according to Goddard.
Hartle and Gibb, however, see the results from Norway as an example that this does not have to be the case. Supervision and good working conditions are more productive in the long term than simply putting additional workload on prospective specialists.