Statement of support for the Spanish junior doctors' claim on working hours
The Junior Doctors Network of the Spanish Medical Order (CGCOM) has recently published a survey on working hours and working conditions of Junior Doctors in Spain. After surveying more than 2000 junior doctors the results show that more than 80% of resident physicians undergoing PGT programs in Spain work for more than 48h/week, the limit set by the European Working Time Directive (EWTD). What is more, 13% of residents do not rest after a 24h on-call shift. This means that a JD could potentially work 32 hours straight with no rest. Additionally, the percentage rises to 47% when it comes to week rest after a saturday 24h on-call shift. According to preliminary data from our study, the surveyed residents carried out an average of five 24h on-call shifts per month.
Spain transposed the European Working Time Directive into their national legislation in 2003 (Law 55/2003) and it was not until 2008 that it came into force for Spanish doctors and junior doctors. European Junior Doctors Association (EJD) demands the Spanish Government and the governments of the different Spanish Autonomous Regions for the enforcement of European and national legislation.
EJD would like to highlight the vulnerable and exceptional position of junior doctors as part of the medical workforce carrying heavy responsibilities in on-call duties, but who are also undergoing training which reflects their possibility in negotiating contracts. Furthermore, transgressions of the working hours limits and resting times are well known factors which negatively impact the health and psychosocial wellbeing of junior doctors, which worsen PGT outcomes and could potentially lead to suboptimal patient care. The EJD believes that there are grounds to address these questions both at the national and EU level to safeguard the interests of junior doctors and patients alike.
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