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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 17 - 23  > Symposium held to talk about issue of unpaid doctors at university hospitals
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2019 July 17 - 23 [LABOR]

Symposium held to talk about issue of unpaid doctors at university hospitals

July 18, 2019

A national labor union for physicians on July 12 held a symposium in Tokyo to talk about the issue of the imposition of unpaid work on doctors, mostly university graduate students, by university hospitals.

Lawyer Matsumaru Tadashi delivered a keynote speech and introduced a case in which a graduate student at Tottori University who was an unpaid doctor at the university’s hospital died in a fatigue-related car crash. The lawyer pointed out, “As the deceased worked under instructions from the university hospital, the hospital evidently used the graduate student in violation of the Labor Standards Law and employers’ legal obligations regarding occupational safety.”

A male physician who worked as an unpaid doctor in the past talked about his experience. He said, “I had to work the nightshift 14 times per month. Suffering from chronic fatigue, I always struggled to maintain my power of concentration. When I petitioned my educational supervisor for an improvement in the situation, I was criticized for making a selfish demand. Without solving the unpaid doctor issue, doctors will be unable to achieve better working conditions.”

A graduate student working at a university hospital without pay also reported on the work situation, “The university hospital insists that I work for the purpose of self-improvement and refuses to pay wages and provide transportation allowance. I’m unhappy with this situation, but I am not in a position to make complaints to my supervisor. Some of my fellow graduate students have lost their health and given up their career choice. In order to improve the quality of medical care services, it is necessary to resolve the issue of unpaid doctors.”

Ueyama Naoto, who heads the doctors’ union, said that the union has urged the Labor Ministry to urgently investigate all university hospitals regarding this matter. He said, “To eliminate the present practice of using graduate students as unpaid doctors and create an environment where young doctors can pursue their career with job satisfaction will also benefit patients.”

Past related article:
> More than 2K university hospital doctors working without pay [July 4, 2019]

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