Publicatie datum

Part-time and full-time medical specialists, are there differences in allocation of time and production?

Jong, J.D. de, Heiligers, P., Groenewegen, P.P., Hingstman, L. Part-time and full-time medical specialists, are there differences in allocation of time and production? European Journal of Public Health: 2005, 15(Suppl. 1) 141. Abstract. 13th Annual EUPHA Meeting "Promoting the public's health: reorienting health policies, linking health promotion and health care", Graz, 10-12 November 2005.
Background: An increasing number of medical specialists prefer to work parttime. This development
can be found worldwide. Problems to be faced in the realization of part-time work in medicine
include the division of night and weekend shifts, as well as communication between physicians and
continuity of care. People tend to think that physicians working part-time are less devoted to their
work, implying that a greater number of tasks are completed by full-time physicians. The questions
addressed in this study are whether part-time medical specialists allocate theirtime differently to
their tasks than full-time medical specialists and whether there are differences in production
between partnerships with and without part-time specialists. Methods: A first questionnaire was sent
by mail to all internists (N = 817), surgeons (N = 693) and radiologists (N = 621) working in
general hospitals in The Netherlands. Questions were asked about the actual situation, such as hours
worked and night and weekend shifts. The response was 53% (n = 411) for internists, 52% (n = 359)
for surgeons, and 36% (n = 213) for radiologists. A second questionnaire was sent by mail to
partnerships of internists (N = 118), partnerships of surgeons, (N=109) and partnerships of
radiologists (N=120). Questions were asked about production. The response was 36% (n = 42) for
partnerships of internists, 41% (n = 45) for partnerships of surgeons, and 28% (n = 33) for
partnerships of radiologists. Multilevel analyses were used to analyse most of the data. Results:
For none of the medical specialties in this study did we find that part-time medical specialists
spend more time on direct patient care. With respect to night and weekend shifts we found that
part-time medical specialists account for proportionally more or an equal share of these shifts. The
number of hours worked per FTE is higher for part-time than for full-time medical specialists,
although this difference is only significant for surgeons. Only for part-time working radiologists
the number of hours worked per FTE is higher when the percentage of full-time medical specialists in
the partnership is higher. Preliminary results with respect to production show no difference between
partnerships withand without part-time working specialists. Conclusions: In general, part-time
medical specialists do their share of the job. However, there is an important consequence of
part-time work: more medical specialists are needed to get the work done. Therefore, a greater
number of medical specialists have to be trained. Part-time work is not only a female concern; there
are also (international) trends for male medical specialists which show a decline in the number of
hours worked. This indicates an overall change in attitude towards the number of hours medical
specialists should work. (aut.ref.)