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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 April 5 - 11  > 30% of male hospital doctors work more than 60 hours a week: Labor Ministry
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2017 April 5 - 11 [LABOR]

30% of male hospital doctors work more than 60 hours a week: Labor Ministry

April 9, 2017
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry on April 6 published its survey results indicating that 30% of male doctors at hospitals across Japan are forced to work more than 60 hours per week.

In the survey, 27.7% of male doctors and 17.3% of female doctors said that every week they spend at least 60 hours in hospitals. A 60 hour work week is officially acknowledged as increasing the risk of overwork-induced death. In terms of age, male physicians in their 20s marked the longest hours. They worked 76.1 hours a week on average, which includes night-shift and overnight on-call hours. Male doctors in their 30s and 40s worked 75.1 hours and 72.3 hours, respectively.

This survey was conducted in December 2016 by a ministry panel on doctors’ work-style reform. Based on the survey results, the panel recently proposed measures to improve the working conditions of hospital physicians.

The panel proposed expanding the scope of nursing practice under the pretext of “sharing of doctors’ work burden”. In addition, it called for measures to limit people’s access to general hospitals by arguing that a decrease in the number of outpatients will help shorten doctors’ working hours.

Meanwhile, the panel stressed the need to introduce a shorter working hour program as a measure to support childrearing demands of doctors, but said nothing about how to implement the program without causing staff shortages.
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