Resident work hour restrictions do not improve patient safety in surgery: a critical appraisal based on 7 years of experience in Switzerland

Patient Saf Surg. 2012 Jul 20;6(1):17. doi: 10.1186/1754-9493-6-17.


In 2005 the Swiss government implemented new work-hour limitations for all residency programs in Switzerland, including a 50-hour weekly limit. The reduction in the working hours of doctors in training implicate an increase in their rest time and suggest an amelioration of doctors' clinical performance and consequently in patients' outcomes and safety - which was not detectable in a preliminary study at a large referral center in Switzerland. It remains elusive why work-hour restrictions did not improve patient safety. We are well advised to thoroughly examine and eliminate the known adverse effects of reduced work-hours to improve our patients' safety.