Cut In Doctors' Working Hours Will Lead To Chaos

As I have shown on numerous occasions, whenever doctors go on strike the number of patient deaths falls noticeably.

And so, theoretically, a cut in the number of hours doctors are allowed to work should benefit patients.

With doctors sitting at home watching TV patients should be safer.

But things won't work out quite so satisfactorily, as new EU laws mean that the number of hours doctors are allowed to work will be slashed.

Nurses will have to deal with emergencies. Nurses will have to perform procedures formerly performed by doctors. And nurses will have to make decisions on drug therapy.

The result, I predict, will be a rapid rise in the incidence of iatrogenesis and a dramatic increase in waiting times for medical advice. Outside in the community patients will find it increasingly difficult to get an appointment (or a home consultation) with a GP.

It is, of course, sensible that doctors working hours should be limited. When I worked as a young hospital doctor I often worked over 100 hours a week. I once managed the maximum of 168 hours work in a single week. By the end of the work I was operating like a zombie.

But the EU should have given governments more time to train the additional doctors who will be needed.

Patients will benefit if doctors are less tired.

But the way the EU has introduced these changes - and the way governments have responded to them - will result in even more patient deaths.

Once again the EU and the British Government have screwed up.

This time their incompetence won't just cost us money.

Thousands of patients will die unnecessary because of this cock-up: as nurses struggle to do work for which they have not been properly trained.

The only thing I can promise you is that if Tony Blair or his family need medical care, teams of fully-qualified doctors will be on hand day and night.

I can guarantee that if Cherie Blair falls ill her life won't depend upon the quality of a life-or-death decision being made by a harassed, partly trained nurse.

On the other hand, your life might.

Note: See also How To Stop Your Doctor Killing You by Vernon Coleman, published by EMJ Books at 12.99 and available through the shop on this website, through other web based bookshops, through high street bookshops and through lending libraries.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2004