OTTAWA, May 9, 2012 /CNW/ - A group of national health care organizations are joining forces to lead a national consensus-building process to create a single, pan-Canadian statement on resident duty hours in Canada. Funded by Health Canada, the groundbreaking project, Towards a Pan-Canadian Consensus on Resident Duty Hours, will produce recommendations that could have significant impacts across the entire Canadian health system.
"Residents are an important part of our health system and changes to resident duty hours would have implications across the country," says Dr. Kevin Imrie, chair of the project's National Steering Committee and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada's vice-president of education. "We need to understand the implication of these changes on resident wellness, education, patient safety and Health care delivery in order to adapt to these changes."
Resident physicians in training have a major role in Canadian health care. In addition to their role as learners, residents provide patient care and clinical education across the health care system. This requires them to regularly work lengthy duty hours, a practice which has come under debate in recent years as research revealed potential correlations between the incidence of medical errors and resident fatigue.
The regulation of resident duty hours has been hotly debated worldwide. Trends in the European Union and the United States, as well as a 2011 ruling in Quebec eliminating 24-hour on-call shifts, have focused on reducing working hours by decreasing shift length in the name of resident and patient safety. However, there is little unanimity regarding how Canadian health care should move forward. With no national standards, there is significant variability across the country.
The National Steering Committee on Resident Duty Hours is being convened to achieve this consensus. The project will examine all the available evidence on the issue in Canada and in similar international contexts. This national collaboration will ultimately produce a single, pan-Canadian statement on resident duty hour issues, directions and best practices.
The report of final recommendations will be launched in spring 2013.
"This project will answer the calls for an informed, evidence-informed consensus on how Canada should move forward," says Dr. Imrie. "It will ensure that Canada continues to enjoy one of the finest medical education systems in the world while safeguarding patient and resident safety."
Towards a Pan-Canadian Consensus on Resident Duty Hours is led by a partnership of national health care organizations involved in Canadian postgraduate medical education. The National Steering Committee is composed of the Royal College, the Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations, Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada - Postgraduate Deans, Canadian Association of Internes and Residents, College of Family Physicians of Canada, Canadian Medical Association, Collège des médecins du Québec and the Fédération des médecins résidents du Québec.
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