The impact of the Working Time Directive on junior doctors' working lives
thesisposted on 09.01.2020, 15:16 by Myanna Duncan
This thesis is concerned with the regulation of working hours in the medical profession. Specifically, the research examined the impact of the Working Time Directive on the quality of working life of doctors in Foundation Years 1, 2 and Specialty Trainee Year 1. In order to achieve this objective, the research employed a mixed-methods, cross-sectional design, using qualitative and quantitative methods over the course of four studies. Data were collected over a two year period, between August 2007 and July 2009, in order to coincide with the staged implementation of the Working Time Directive in the medical profession. The data indicated that junior doctors largely welcomed a regulation of working hours and recognised the importance of regulation within the medical profession. In this vein, participants largely viewed the Directive a welcome initiative, recognising the positive impact on health, wellbeing and work-life balance. However, concerns were raised at the impact of the Directive on training and education, with the research highlighting frustration at the means through which the Directive had been implemented particularly in terms of rota design and workforce reconfiguration. In many instances, concerns regarding the impact of the Directive stemmed from a lack of clarity in the change initiatives introduced. In turn, this resulted in confusion regarding the remit of the Directive. The research has identified concerns and negative perceptions of the Directive and considered how these may be addressed. In particular, the research has highlighted issues such as management of expectations, providing greater clarity of information and the importance of staff engagement. This thesis therefore presents a range of policy and practical implications stemming from the research.
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