NCHD Overtime: Ocean FM 25th May 2011
Dr Mark Murphy, Chairman, NCHD Committee was interviewed on Ocean FM in relation to the overtime worked by NCHDs in Ireland’s hospitals..
The following is a transcript of extract from the interview.
Patients will suffer and hospital departments will close unless structural reform of the Irish hospital system takes place that will end the overreliance on junior doctors, according to a doctor at Sligo General Hospital. The warning comes from the Chairman of the Irish Medical Organisation’s Non-Consultant Hospital Doctor Committee, Dr. Mark Murphy, who is also a junior doctor at Sligo General Hospital.
He was responding to figures on overtime payments made to junior doctors last year showing the top overtime earning junior doctor was a Registrar at Roscommon County Hospital, who received €135,000. Yesterday the doctor said he finished a working week totalling eighty-three hours at Sligo General Hospital. Dr. Murphy says he firmly believes that his capacity to deliver good patient care is diminished by the long hours.
Dr. Mark Murphy: (Chairman, IMO Non-Consultant Hospital Doctor Committee)
Research in all areas of professional life, from truck drivers to doctors, that are working excessive hours, has serious health and safety consequences for the professionals and also the people that use the service.
The European Union have produced legislation in terms of the European Working Time Directive, almost ten years ago now, and Ireland has only attempted to become compliant in the past few years. Sligo General Hospital has a good reputation amongst NCHDs around the country but Sligo, you have to remember, is one of what would be called the smaller hospitals in the country so the staffing levels of NCHDs are less and if you think of the small cells in each specialty, such as paediatrics, anaesthetics, surgery, you’re relying on a small number of NCHDs to staff the hospital 24/7 so every night an NCHD has to be on call so invariably Sligo would be a hospital that is prevented from reducing the working hours just simply because of the fact that the departments are relatively smaller compared to some Galway or Dublin or Cork hospitals.