Medical Labour Force 1996, to be released on Thursday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, shows that many doctors continue to work 65 hours or more per week. These hours were worked by 28.7% of surgeons, 20.6% of specialists-in-training, 19.7% of internal medicine specialists and 15.4% of interns and resident medical officers. In contrast, only 4.9% of pathologists worked more than 65 hours a week.
Working 80 or more hours per week is not uncommon in the surgical specialities - more than one in every six paediatric surgeons, and one in ten surgeons practising general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, plastic surgery, urology and vascular surgery worked such hours.
Over 80% of female GPs worked less than 50 hours per week in contrast to 43.5% of male GPs.
The hours worked by general practitioners increased with distance from major population centres from an average in metropolitan areas of around 50 hours per week for males and 34 hours per week for females to an average in remote areas of 56 hours for males and 45 hours for females.
Mr Warwick Conn of the AIHW's Labour Force Unit said that 'Female medical graduates tend to be in fields of medicine with greater opportunities for part-time work and shorter working hours.
'In 1996, over half (58.2%) of general practice trainees were female. In the specialties, just under a third (32.6%) of trainees were females, the highest proportions of these being in endocrinology, haematology, medical administration, paediatric medicine and obstetrics and gynaecology. The lowest proportion of female specialist trainees was in the surgical disciplines.'
Other findings of the report include:
20 August 1998
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