, Volume 152, Issue 7, pp 1207-1210
Date: 06 Apr 2010

Implementation of the European Working Time Directive in neurosurgery reduces continuity of care and training opportunities

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Background

Implementation of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) raises questions about reduced surgical training opportunities and lost continuity of patient care. We studied the effect that the EWTD has had in these areas for residents in the neurosurgical unit at St. George's Hospital, London, UK.

Methods

Case notes for 50 emergency and 50 elective operative admissions were randomly selected before and after implementation of an EWTD compliant resident roster (total, 200 episodes). Each was objectively scored for continuity of care from the operating surgeon. Rosters from 3 months before and after implementation were compared to assess training opportunities available.

Results

A significant reduction was observed in continuity of emergency care following introduction of the EWTD compliant roster (P < 0.009). The same proportion of residents consented and operated on elective cases; however, a significant reduction in continuity of postoperative care was observed (P < 0.0001). Resident training opportunities were substantially affected with reduced involvement in outpatient (72% vs. 60%) and operating sessions (79% vs. 63%) with their nominated consultant.

Conclusions

The EWTD has had a marked adverse impact on continuity of care for neurosurgical patients at St. George's Hospital. Residents' training opportunities were reduced.