A new report released by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has revealed that doctors are putting patients' health at risk by working long hours and suffering from lack of sleep.
Around 1,500 doctors were surveyed as part of the report with the researchers finding that over 53 percent of the doctors worked long hours, including one doctor who worked on a 43 hour shift. Lack of sleep and fatigue due to long working hours could impair the judgment of the doctors, risking the safety of the patients.
AMA Vice President Geoffrey Dob said that while there has been a reduction in the long working hours of doctors from a similar survey carried out in 2006, the number was still high and hospitals should do everything it can to further improve the situation.
"There is some information that suggests that when people work excessive hours their judgment can be impaired. There are studies that show that once you go beyond 17 hours then it is rather like working with a blood alcohol level of 0.05. It would be great to see it at zero. I suspect that that isn't realistic, so a target of closer to 30 per cent would be realistic", he said.