Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Dear Dr Dan Poulter

In your most recent piece of spin you bravely claim Pete Deveson's New Statesman article is "factually inaccurate" but fail to explain why this is so?  Interestingly you also fail to answer any of Pete's simple 3 questions.  

It seems Dr Dan has been compelled into a response:

"Although in theory, until the full introduction of the EWTD, the maximum number of hours a doctor could work in a single week was 91 hours (7 consecutive 13 hour shifts). The process of ensuring proper continuity of patient care through patient handovers to colleagues and being present on the morning consultant-led ward rounds for handing over patients admitted overnight meant that the reality for doctors like me, in some specialities was a working rota pattern involving regular 100 hour weeks.

A typical obstetrics and gynaecology rota (as it appeared on the official rota) which I performed as a doctor as recently as 2009 was; 12 days of consecutive day shifts (including 7 days of 11.5 hour on call shifts) followed by two days off, followed by 12 further consecutive day shifts (including 7 days of 11.5 hour on call shifts), followed by 2 days off, followed by 7 consecutive 13 hour night shifts, followed by 6 days of compulsory rest and a week of training/annual leave (then working pattern repeats in a cyclical nature).

This was a gruelling and tough medical work rota by anybody’s standards, notwithstanding the fact that patient handover meetings and required attendance on post admission patient ward rounds were not ‘counted’ as officially timetabled hours on the rota. The demands of ensuring proper patient care and continuity of care, required junior doctors, like me, to work 100 hour weeks as recently as 2009."

Dr Dan is digging himself into a hole in my opinion. His claims of regular 100 hour weeks are based on a slightly dubious use of the word 'regular' and some rather interesting hand overs.

Interestingly Dr Dan also probably worked regular zero hour weeks if we take his argument to its logical conclusions. Strange he didn't spin this line in Parliament.

At best Dr Dan has been caught engaging in some blatant spin that is arguably highly disingenuous. Dishonest? Well, we simply don't have the facts to make this judgement but it wouldn't surprise me knowing most Tory politicians.