Article by Jennifer Anderson 2 February 2009 on ergoweb.com website.
The University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust conducted the new study, which was reported by the BBC.
Nineteen junior doctors working on the endocrinology and respiratory wards at the hospital participated in the 12-week study. Nine were put on a 48-hour per week pattern that met the conditions of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) and 10 were on a traditional pattern, where they worked up to 56 hours.
Two senior doctors, who were unfamiliar with the shift patterns of both groups, reviewed their errors by checking case notes.
Doctors working to the EWTD pattern made 33 percent fewer errors than their colleagues on the traditional pattern, and there were fewer potentially life-threatening events.