Thursday, 5 August 2010

48 hours is ample

How many hours should you work per week? My first reaction to this question is that I am always doing something and I should be able to call it work. Let's say I sleep eight hours per night. Add another 30 minutes either side of sleep to wind down and to get ready in the morning. That leaves fifteen hours per day when I am doing something. As I would not get paid for meal breaks let's reduce that by another hour for two meals which leaves me working 14 hours. Let's also say I was 30 minutes from work. That make 13 hours. If I did nothing else but work I could manage a working week of 91 hours. The problem is that I may want to do something else. I may get tired.

This week the working time directive has been criticised by doctors. 48 hours is supposed to be the limit for the working week but you can do extra if you do less in other weeks. Doctors want a 65-hour working week and presumably with variations in shifts this would mean some weeks they are working all their waking hours. This is a large proportion of a maximum possible working week.

I thought we had advanced from doctors coming to patients at 10pm having started work at 7am. This isn't a training experience, it is a form of extreme sport and patients don't want to play. Doctors have had plenty of time to get their act together and should work a 'normal' working week. I expect them to study around their subject in their own time and it would be nice to think they had some rest too. A working week of 48 hours is ample.

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