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BBC News: "Better care 'if doctors rest'"

February 2, 2009

A recent study conducted at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust suggests that doctors working on a shorter weekly rotation schedule make fewer mistaken than their counterparts working a traditional schedule.  For a 12 week span, a sample of junior doctors was put on 48 hour station schedule, rather than the standard 56.  Their performance during the study was then evaluated by two unbiased senior doctors by checking their case notes.  The results show a decrease in error and potentially life threatening events by up to one third.  It was also noted however that the shorter rotation did limit the amount of training and time spent with patients for the length of the study.

Professor Roy Pounder, of the Royal College of Physicians, explains this in saying, "This 8 hour reduction is achieved by squeezing the hours out of daytime, Monday to Friday, which means worse continuity of patient care and less training - substantial disadvantages that have to be balanced by the slightly better-rested doctors who make fewer minor errors."

The Division of Sleep Medicine‚Äôs Chris Landrigan, MD, MPH, and Steven Lockley, PhD, are coauthors on a paper published in the Quarterly Journal of Medicine in the UK documenting these findings. 

To read the full article, click here.

Related Links
Warwick Medical School: Press Release

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