Survey of UK surgeons indicates patients are less safe with European Working Time Directive

The Royal College of Surgeons has published the results of its survey into the impact of the introduction of the European Working Time Regulations (EWTR) on surgeons. The results are based on responses by 900 surgeons across the UK and indicate that there is clear evidence that patients are much less safe in the NHS since the August introduction of the 48 hour working limits. The results included the following:

· 64 per cent of all respondents thought quality of care had worsened due to the EWTR.

· More than half of consultants believe compliance with EWTR has been achieved at the expense of patient safety (overall 44 per cent of respondents agreed).

· A third said handover arrangements are inadequate in their hospital and 23 per cent said they cannot stay involved in all stages of individual patients clinical care that require their expertise.

· 62 per cent of surgeons said they were not working a truly compliant 48 hour week with 70 per cent estimating they worked more than 48 hours – with these surgeons estimating they averaged between 55-60 hours a week.

· A quarter of respondents said that other professionals in the healthcare team are acting up to cover tasks previously done by surgeons and 43 per cent said they are covering rota gaps in other areas of their own hospital to keep services running.

Download the summary results here.

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