Dr Stoate: Is the Secretary of State aware of a report by Warwick and Harvard universities that showed that doctors who worked 56 hours made 30 per cent. more mistakes than those working 48 hours? Even relatively few extra hours significantly increases the risk of making an error.
Alan Johnson: Not only am I aware of that research, but I intend to quote it chapter and verse later.
(From the Commons opposition debate on the European Working Time Directive (EWTD), 10 March 20091)
The debate between the government and the surgical profession surrounding the introduction of the 48-hour working limit has been technical and complicated. At the heart of the government argument for the shortening of working time is that doctors are tired and that being tired they make mistakes that harm patient care. But does the evidence exist to demonstrate that working over 48 hours per week is a direct cause of severe fatigue?