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Medical Council of Thailand Says Doctors Dangerously Overwork

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Thai doctors and nurses treat school children at a hospital  (AP Photo)

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BANGKOK  – Doctors are dangerously overworking, with some of them dozing while driving and committing suicide, according to the Medical Council of Thailand.

Dr Samphan Komrit, spokesman of the council, said statistics showed that doctors were overloaded with work and some doctors worked more than 100 hours a week.

The working conditions weakened doctors, who easily contracted diseases at their hospitals. A few young doctors had car accidents every year because they dozed off. Some doctors were so stressed they either committed suicide or quit their jobs, he said.

According to Dr Samphan, the situation prompted the Medical Council to issue an announcement setting the work hour limit for doctors at public hospitals. The work hours are capped at 40 hours a week, including up to 16 hours weekly for duty at emergency units. Besides, doctors aged 55 and over should not work overtime.

However, Dr Samphan admitted it was difficult to enforce the requirement because of the overwhelming number of patients.

The announcement was therefore intended to set ideal work hours as a reference for policymakers, who should find ways to increase the number of doctors to meet patients’ demand, he said.

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