Dr Christopher Landrigan, from Harvard University, a specialist in the area of sleep deprivation has prepared a report on the repercussions of lack of sleep on health care professionals. Presently, he has been deputed by the health board to lend his observations on the optimum working hours for Doctors, perfectly timed, when the talks between the health boards and the resident doctor's association were reaching a stalemate.
Dr Stephen Child, the director of clinical training at Auckland District Health Board said "What this research shows is that we are on the right track. It confirms that we are doing well and it points to the few exceptions where we can focus and do better. The current negotiations are not a dispute over hours, but rather how we can achieve these improvements - especially in the area of night work and long shifts. The Landrigan report provides an independent, international view of the working hours of junior doctors in New Zealand and it shows that our conditions are among the best in the world. It also points to areas where we can do more."
But Resident Doctors' Association general secretary Dr Deborah Powell has expressed that the calculation reflected in the report is more salary based rather than on the number of working hours. According to her there is a lot of information that is distorted, with a motive to project a problem-free scenario.
The health boards have put up a proposition to allow differences in working conditions for which the consent of union members is being sought. The resident doctors union is not about to agree with the proposed recommendations.