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Safety and the flying doctor

By Francesco Cappuccio and Steven B. Lockley

Abstract

Interest, curiosity, or dismay—which feeling predominates when we learn from BBC Newsnight that our NHS employs doctors who commute from Poland to cover the out of hours duties that local GPs are unable to work because they are too tired at night? Is it interest in an innovative solution for modern pan-European healthcare provision, curiosity in discovering huge variations in the standard of living across the medical profession in an open Europe, or dismay that the government’s emphasis, that healthcare practice should be based on the best scientific evidence, is little more than lip service? \ud \ud Working continuously for a long time, particularly at night, increases the risk of making errors and causing injury, which is why many professions limit the number of hours of continuous duty. These risks also apply to the medical profession: tired doctors make mistakes that harm patients (N Engl J Med 2004;351:1838-48) and themselves\u

Topics: R1, HV
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:173

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