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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 September 6 - 12  > Symposium held to discuss issue of overworked hospital doctors
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2017 September 6 - 12 [LABOR]

Symposium held to discuss issue of overworked hospital doctors

September 10, 2017
A national physicians’ union, an association of bereaved families of workers who died from overwork (karoshi), and a group of legal professionals working on karoshi cases held a symposium on September 9 in Tokyo to discuss ways to address issue of overworked hospital doctors.

Lawyer Kawahito Hiroshi as a symposium panelist criticized the Abe government for putting off placing regulations on hospital doctors’ overtime on the grounds of their work’s “public nature”. Kawahito, an attorney who engages in karoshi lawsuits, said that he cannot remain silent on the excessively long working hours of hospital doctors.

Ueyama Naoto, a doctor, presented a survey result in which many hospital doctors single out “excessive fatigue and busyness” as a major cause of medical accidents. Ueyama said that hospital doctors’ work environment should be improved in order to ensure safety in medical treatment.

Lawyer Saito Yutaka, who was in charge of the karoshi case of a trainee doctor, said that the intern had worked from 116 hours to 177 hours of overtime a month but the hospital had barely acknowledged this situation. He stressed the need for a system to be implemented to objectively record working hours, not depend on self-reported number of hours worked.

Matsumaru Tadashi, a lawyer, referred to the case of a hospital whose overtime agreement forces its doctors to work up to 300 hours a month. He denounced the harsh working conditions that ensue under such an agreement.

The head of the families’ association, Nakahara Noriko, pointed to the shortage of staff and highlighted the importance of increasing the number of hospital doctors.

Past related articles:
> Trainee doctor’s suicide recognized as caused from overwork [June 2, 2017]
> 30% of male hospital doctors work more than 60 hours a week: Labor Ministry [April 9, 2017]

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