The Independent reports that the new junior doctor contract may disrupt their sleep patterns, which may impact patient safety in the UK.
Any increases in the number of night and weekend shifts doctorswould have to work will risk “increased disruption of junior doctors’ circadian rhythm and increase their social isolation”, according to researchers at the Cass Business School.
In written evidence for the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is conducting an inquiry into NHS staffing levels, experts in workforce management and mathematics said that if the terms of the new contract were applied to the workforce at its current size, junior doctors could face excessive working hours that would risk patient safety.
The Government has pledged that the maximum number of consecutive night shifts will be reduced from seven to four, and that doctors will get a minimum 48 hours’ rest after a run of three- or four-night shifts.
Maximum hours worked in a week will be reduced from 91 to 72, according to the NHS Employers organisation.