Implementing a 48 h EWTD-compliant rota for junior doctors in the UK does not compromise patients’ safety : assessor-blind pilot comparison
Cappuccio, Francesco P., Bakewell, A., Taggart, Frances M, Ward, G., Ji, Chen, Sullivan, J.P., Edmunds, M., Pounder, R., Landrigan, C.P., Lockley, S.W. and Peile, Ed. (2009) Implementing a 48 h EWTD-compliant rota for junior doctors in the UK does not compromise patients’ safety : assessor-blind pilot comparison. QJM, Vol.102 (No.4). pp. 271-282. ISSN 1460-2725
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/qjmed/hcp004
Background: There are currently no field data about the effect of implementing European Working Time Directive (EWTD)-compliant rotas in a medical setting. Surveys of doctors’ subjective opinions on shift work have not provided reliable objective data with which to evaluate its efficacy.
Aim: We therefore studied the effects on patient's safety and doctors’ work-sleep patterns of implementing an EWTD-compliant 48 h work week in a single-blind intervention study carried out over a 12-week period at the University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust. We hypothesized that medical error rates would be reduced following the new rota.
Methods: Nineteen junior doctors, nine studied while working an intervention schedule of <48 h per week and 10 studied while working traditional weeks of <56 h scheduled hours in medical wards. Work hours and sleep duration were recorded daily. Rate of medical errors (per 1000 patient-days), identified using an established active surveillance methodology, were compared for the Intervention and Traditional wards. Two senior physicians blinded to rota independently rated all suspected errors.
Results: Average scheduled work hours were significantly lower on the intervention schedule [43.2 (SD 7.7) (range 26.0–60.0) vs. 52.4 (11.2) (30.0–77.0) h/week; P < 0.001], and there was a non-significant trend for increased total sleep time per day [7.26 (0.36) vs. 6.75 (0.40) h; P = 0.095]. During a total of 4782 patient-days involving 481 admissions, 32.7% fewer total medical errors occurred during the intervention than during the traditional rota (27.6 vs. 41.0 per 1000 patient-days, P = 0.006), including 82.6% fewer intercepted potential adverse events (1.2 vs. 6.9 per 1000 patient-days, P = 0.002) and 31.4% fewer non-intercepted potential adverse events (16.6 vs. 24.2 per 1000 patient-days, P = 0.067). Doctors reported worse educational opportunities on the intervention rota.
Conclusions: Whilst concerns remain regarding reduced educational opportunities, our study supports the hypothesis that a 48 h work week coupled with targeted efforts to improve sleep hygiene improves patient safety.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||R Medicine > R Medicine (General)|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Medicine > Warwick Medical School > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Faculty of Medicine > Warwick Medical School > Translational & Systems Medicine > Metabolic and Vascular Health
Faculty of Medicine > Warwick Medical School
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Physicians -- Great Britain, Physicians -- Health and hygiene, Hours of labor -- Law and legislation -- Europe|
|Journal or Publication Title:||QJM|
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press|
|Official Date:||27 January 2009|
|Page Range:||pp. 271-282|
|Access rights to Published version:||Open Access|
|Funder:||Great Britain. National Health Service (NHS)|
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