February 26 2022
TOKYO – Japan’s Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is set to conduct shortly a survey on extra work hours for hospital doctors, ahead of the April 2024 introduction of overtime regulations as part of work style reforms for doctors.
The survey will be carried out in stages, targeting hospitals across the nation and prefectural governments.
Under the revised medical service law, which was enacted in May 2021, extra work for hospital doctors will be limited at 960 hours a year in principle. For doctors for whom long work hours are unavoidable due to reasons including services at emergency medical centers, the upper limit on annual overtime will be set at 1,860 hour.
University hospitals dispatch doctors to clinics and other smaller medical institutions at their requests.
But the Japan Medical Association has warned that such hospitals may have to withdraw dispatched doctors in light of the cap on extra work hours and that their functions of supporting local medical services could be hampered as a result. The medical world is concerned that a sufficient level of necessary care may not be provided at a time when shortages of medical personnel have become a serious issue amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.