FFE Magazine

Does your doctor do the same as the doctors in Switzerland?

17apr swiss doctors


In a bid to maintain quality of work and patients’ safety, Switzerland has imposed a 50-hour work week rule for assistant and senior doctors starting 2005. But one survey revealed that almost 70% of doctors are breaking this labour law.


According to the survey by the Association of Swiss Assistant and Senior Physicians, 15% of doctors worked one to five extra hours per week, 8% worked six to 10, 4% worked more than 10 and 29% said they weren’t keeping an eye on their work hours. The doctors were also found not to have reported their overtime work.


The survey also revealed that 48% of the doctors felt generally tired because of working extra hours, 23% and 25% said they felt physically and emotionally drained respectively and 33% felt an overwhelming sense of giving up.


38% confessed that they experienced endangering a patient because of exhaustion.


BaselUniversityHospital assistant physician Miodrag Savic said ‘Survey results show that Swiss hospitals have a major problem not complying with the law.’


The association’s president Daniel Schröpfer meanwhile commented that the survey has led the committee to be ‘convinced that ensuring compliance with the law is not just important for doctors but also helps protect patients.’


As a way to reverse this trend, the association called on the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) to conduct inspections of hospitals to make sure they comply with the law: ‘It’s a big pressure for the hospitals if a committee comes and looks at the work of the residents.’


Schröpfer suggested that doctors also concentrate on their job and leave administrative work to secretaries: ‘Doctors should be performing the duties we’re paying them for.’


According to the survey, 55% of doctors wanted a 42-hour work week and believed that part-time work is healthy for doctors and patients.



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