Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

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.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





Attitude of health personnel, career choice, medical, medical education, physicians, workforce, workload/legislation and jurisprudence