48-hour workweek for young doctors currently not possible, Scottish government says

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It comes after leaders in the medical profession expressed concerns about the long working hours of young doctors, saying urgent action was needed to improve their well-being.

An expert report informed ministers that achieving a maximum 48-hour work week would “have significant resource implications” and take at least 10 years of planning.

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Regulations limit the work week to 48 hours, but take it on average over 26 weeks, which means many junior doctors have individual weeks with very long hours.

leaders of the medical profession have raised concerns about the long working hours of young doctors,

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said moving to a maximum 48-hour work week remains a long-term goal for the government.

He said: “This government is committed to being open and transparent, which is why we released this report of the independent expert task force.

“We recognize the challenges he highlights in relation to our goal of introducing a 48-hour work week for physicians in training.

“I know that implementing this policy will not be easy and will involve system-wide considerations.

“In the meantime, the report of the expert working group contains many recommendations that will improve the working conditions of young doctors and we are fully committed to their implementation.

“Many of these were also highlighted by young doctors themselves, in the recent British Medical Association Wellness Report. “

Earlier this week, the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland warned that working conditions for young doctors needed to improve.

He said young doctors are at risk of burnout due to a poor work-life balance.

Dr Lailah Peel, chair of the Scottish BMA Young Doctors Committee, said she welcomed the panel’s report.

“Junior doctors were struggling before the pandemic, and the past 19 months have only amplified our concerns,” she added.

“Our well-being is of the utmost importance at this time and small steps to improve this can make a huge difference to staff morale, not to mention the recruitment and retention of doctors in NHS Scotland.

“This is a good place to start, and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government and employers to make these recommendations a top priority.”


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