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Registrar working hours in Cape Town

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The number of hours worked by general surgical registrars in Europe and the USA has been reduced so as to reduce fatigue and the possibility of errors. The impact of these restrictions on surgical training remains unresolved. To date there are no officially reported data on the number of hours worked by registrars in South Africa. The aim of this study was to document the hours worked by registrars in general surgery in Cape Town. Thirty-three general surgical registrars at the University of Cape Town were asked to complete a time sheet over a 2-week period, indicating hours spent in hospital as part of a normal working day, hours spent in hospital outside of a normal day, hours at home on \'cold call\' and hours off duty. Of the 33 registrars, 25 completed the time sheet. Registrars at Groote Schuur Hospital worked an average of 105 hours per week (68 hours in hospital and 37 hours on call at home). Registrars at New Somerset Hospital worked 79 hours per week (70 hours on site), while registrars at Red Cross Children\'s Hospital, G. F. Jooste Hospital and the Trauma Unit worked 60 - 69 hours per week. In the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) registrars worked 75 hours per week. In conclusion, general surgical registrars at the University of Cape Town work hours in excess of European and American work-hour restrictions. South African Journal of Surgery Vol. 43(3) 2005: 62-64


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