On-call physicians´ actual working hour characteristics 2014–2018
Background There seem to be no earlier register studies on physicians´ actual working hours. In surveys physicians have reported extensive working hours.
Methods We calculated physicians’ annual working hour characteristics and trends by full-time employment, age and gender. The data consisted of working hour records (n = 13 543, 58% females) for 12 Finnish hospital districts in 2014–2018.
Results The average actual weekly working time among physicians classified as working full-time was 43 hours. Over 25% had annual working time of over 2 000 hours. Between 2014 and 2018 the proportion of <13-hour on-call shifts increased by over 10 percentage points to 41%, and the number of on-call shifts increased by 4–5. Working hour trends were similar in women and men, although men had on average approx. 70 annual work hours more than women. Physicians under 35 years had more on-call work duties. This did not include at least seven-day spells of work or on-call work at home.
Conclusions Hospital physicians´ actual working hours between 2014 and 2018 showed stable high working hours and an increase in the proportion of under 13-hour on-call shifts. Further research on actual working hours by medical specialty and effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on physicians’ working time is warranted.
Ph.D., Specialist Researcher
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
Jenni Ervasti, Tarja Hakola, Veli-Matti Isoviita, Ilkka Kivimäki, Mika Kivimäki, Aki Koskinen, Tuula Oksanen, Sampsa Puttonen, Mikko Härmä