Review Finds No Harm From Cutback in Residents Docs' Hours

Patient safety not affected, researchers say, but more study still needed

WEDNESDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Reducing the workload of U.S. medical residents to a maximum of 80 hours a week has not had a negative effect on patient safety and has had little effect on the training of new doctors, a new study contends.

The findings, which stem from a review of 72 published studies from the United States and United Kingdom, challenge concerns expressed by medical professionals that reducing the hours that residents work would be detrimental to patients and doctors-in-training alike.

The study was published online March 22 in BMJ.

The researchers also tried to assess the impact of legislation that limits European medical residents to 48 hours of work a week, but they said that studies on the impact of the legislation were of poor quality and had conflicting results, prompting a call for more high-quality studies, particularly in Europe.

"Only then can both the public and the profession be assured that the standard of medical training, and therefore the future care of patients, is of the highest possible quality and will be maintained or improved over time," they concluded in a journal news release.

More information

The American Medical Association has information on the requirements for becoming a doctor.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: British Medical Journal, news release, March 22, 2011

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