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A qualitative investigation of foundation year 2 doctors’ views on the European Working Time Directive

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journal contribution
posted on 11.11.2015, 16:35 authored by Myanna Duncan, Cheryl Haslam
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the personal views and experiences of Foundation Year 2 doctors operating under the European Working Time Directive (EWTD). Design/methodology/approach – In total, 36 Foundation Year 2 doctors from a single UK-based Deanery participated in this semistructured interview study. Findings – Findings indicated that Foundation doctors typically welcomed a regulation of working hours, but reported frustration at the manner in which the Directive had been implemented. Participants reported concerns at reducing hours by removing out-of-hours working in order to meet EWTD requirements. Out-of-hours shifts were highly valued owing to their increased opportunities for autonomous clinical decision making. By contrast, day-shifts were regarded as heavily administrative in nature and were perceived as service provision. Foundation doctors discussed the unique nature of the out-of-hours working period which appeared to provide specific learning opportunities as doctors draw on time management and prioritisation skills. Originality/value – Given the challenges the EWTD presents, careful rota planning is essential. First, the authors would encourage the restructuring of day-shift work to provide a greater emphasis on hands-on skills experience in a supportive, supervised environment. Second, where possible, Foundation doctors might benefit from the opportunity to engage in some out-of-hours working, such as with multi-professional “Hospital at Night” teams. Third, the authors would encourage junior doctor involvement in rota design and planning which may increase their perceived autonomy and therefore buy-in of working practices.



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Published in

Journal of Health, Organisation and Management






367 - 380


DUNCAN M. and HASLAM, C., 2015. A qualitative investigation of foundation year 2 doctors’ views on the European Working Time Directive. Journal of Health Organiation and Management, 29 (3), pp.367-380


© Emerald Group Publishing Ltd


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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