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COVID-19: Doctors feel under pressure to work extra shifts unpaid, survey shows


Thousands of doctors feel under pressure from their employers to work extra shifts, often unpaid, to help tackle the backlog of care caused by the covid pandemic, the BMA has warned.

The warning came after results from the BMA’s latest tracker survey showed that more than half its respondents (58%, 2834 of 4876) had worked extra hours in the previous month as part of the response to the pandemic. Almost a third (29%, 1387) said they were not paid for the additional time they worked.

More than two fifths (44%) of respondents (2086 of 4719) said they felt under pressure from their employer to do extra hours in the last month. And more than a third (36%, 1759) had either skipped taking full breaks altogether or taken them on rare occasions in the past fortnight.

Nearly six in 10 doctors who responded (57%, 2889 of 5059) reported a higher than normal level of fatigue or exhaustion because of working or studying during the pandemic.

Chaand Nagpaul, the BMA’s chair of council, said, “To learn that an already depleted and now exhausted workforce feels forced into doing more and more hours, with many reporting higher levels of fatigue than ever, is extremely worrying. It is putting them and their patients at risk. Working ‘flat out’ without a change to rest and recuperate is simply unsustainable and unsafe."

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Source: BMJ, 10 May 2021

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