Changes urged to end ‘black Wednesday’ in hospitals

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Staggering junior doctors’ training rotations could help to prevent the “black Wednesday” phenomenon, medical experts have said.

Studies have previously linked the first Wednesday in August, the day when freshly-qualified doctors arrive on hospital wards, to higher death rates among patients.

This day also coincides with a changeover in the training schedules of junior medics who have already been working in the hospital.

Now the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has recommended that while all Foundation Year 1 – junior doctors in the first year of the programme between medical school and specialist training – should commence work on the first Wednesday in August, junior doctors already working in hospitals should not change over departments until September.

The academy said this will mean that the newest doctors will always work with trainees who have already been doing the job for a number of months.