The impact of the European Working Time Directive 10 years on: views of the UK medical graduates of 2002 surveyed in 2013-2014.
Lambert TW., Smith F., Goldacre MJ.
OBJECTIVES: To report doctors' views about the European Working Time Directive ('the Directive'). DESIGN: Survey of the medical graduates of 2002 (surveyed in 2013-2014). PARTICIPANTS: Medical graduates. SETTING: UK. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Questions on views about the Directive. RESULTS: The response rate was 64% (2056/3196). Twelve per cent of respondents agreed that the Directive had benefited senior doctors, 39% that it benefited junior doctors, and 17% that it had benefited the NHS. More women (41%) than men (35%) agreed that the Directive had benefited junior doctors. Surgeons (6%) and adult medical specialists (8%) were least likely to agree that the Directive had benefited senior doctors. Surgeons (20%) were less likely than others to agree that the Directive had benefited junior doctors, whilst specialists in emergency medicine (57%) and psychiatry (52%) were more likely to agree. Surgeons (7%) were least likely to agree that the Directive had benefited the NHS. Most respondents (62%) reported a positive effect upon work-life balance. With regard to quality of patient care, 45% reported a neutral effect, 40% reported a negative effect, and 15% a positive effect. Most respondents (71%) reported a negative effect of the Directive on continuity of patient care, and 71% felt that the Directive had a negative effect upon junior doctors' training opportunities. Fifty-two per cent reported a negative effect on efficiency in managing patient care. CONCLUSIONS: Senior doctors agreed that the Directive benefited doctors' work-life balance. In other respects, they were more negative about it. Surgeons were the least positive about aspects of the Directive.