• Permissible maximum working hours per week for a doctor

Dear sir,
Am Dr.Chetan,working as an 'Insurance Medical Officer(IMO)' i.e, a regular permanent employee in an ESIC hospital,Peenya,banglaore,which is 'an autonomous body under central government' which follows CGHS rules for all practical purposes

My questions for you are
1) Are doctors working in govt setup also come under the definition of "a labourer''

2) If no,why?
     If yes,Then What is 'the maximum permissible duty/working hours limit' for a medical officer working in a central govt hospital

2)For your information, The Controlling officers for        us are 
a)Head of the dept and
b) Medical superintendent,
So If we are forced by our controlling officers to do more hours of duty than what is permissible, so are they punishable under law.
3)At present, we have been doing duties like sometimes a shift would extend for ~20hours at a streatch,so unfortunately if due to the stress of overwork,if something happens to the patient,who will be the liable persons for it.
Whether its like 
a)only me OR
b)both me and Our Hod OR
c)all three i.e, me,our hod and Medical superuntendent of our hospital
Asked 3 years ago in Labour from Bangalore, Karnataka
1. As per Supreme Court Judgement of 2014, Doctors working in govt setup do not come under the definition of a labourer.
2.The relevant SC judgement is reproduced herein " Medical Professionals are not 'workmen' and the Benefits under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 are available only to ‘workmen’. If one is a manager or a professional, he is outside the ambit of the act. In ESI Corporation Medical Officer’s Assoication v. ESI Corporation, the Supreme Court held that a medical professional treating patients and diagonsing diseases cannot be held to be a ‘workmen’ under Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act. The two judge bench consisting of KSP Radhakrishan and AK Sikri, therein drew a distinction between ‘occupation’ and profession’, and held that an occupation is a principal activity related to job, work or calling that earns regular wages for a person; and a profession on the other hand, requires extensive training, study and mastery of the subject, whether it is teaching students, providing legal advice or treating patients or diagnosing diseases. Hence, the court was of the opinion that professionals are not workmen within the meaning of Section 2(s) of the ID Act".
3. normal weekly hours of work are  FORTY  TO FORTY EIGHT hours per week.
4. Reproduced herein "As the graph of errors and accidents increases steeply this 100% increase (24 hrs continuous duty in place of 12 hours maximum limit) in duty hours is sufficiently enough to do BLUNDERS AND ENDANGER human life.
“A doctor at his 20th-24th hour of continuous duty in Emergency ward, if not able to provide proper care to the patient for whom even a single minute can prove life saving or Fatal. This way if patients suffer than who will be HELD RESPONSIBLE, the Doctor on duty or the HOD or DME or the Govt.?”
Because doctor is performing unofficial extended hours, and he/she has the reason to state that doctor was not in his/her proper mental and physical condition due to chronic sleep deprivation and exhaustion. In fact this extended hour coincides with the mid night and early morning time, when all those patients who come to casualty irrespective of there diagnosis, feel that if
they will delay till morning it may be harmful/fatal to them and most of the times indeed these emergencies are life threatening. With great hope in mid night when they visit hospital for proper care, they find a drowsy, tired, exhausted doctor, who is not even able to examine properly. The general impression becomes that doctor has neglected him, where as patient hardly knows doctor’s real condition. After all patients do deserve the proper and efficient care, especially when there is no scarcity of doctors and this duty regime is artificially motivated".
4. If something happens to the patient the liable persons are all the three, the Duty Doctor, HOD and the Medical Superintendent of Hospital. 
Shashidhar S. Sastry
Advocate, Bangalore
1638 Answers
107 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1. You do not come under the definition labour as per the Act,

2. The term labour has been defined in the Act which does not conform with your job profile for which you can not be called as labour,

3. You can make complaint to your reporting officers including Head of the Department and MS regarding the brisk of being forced to over work since it may seriously reduce the quality of your treatment against the interest of the patients,

4  If you alreday record your said warning/alarm, the blame on you will certainly be greatly reduced, should there be any wrong step taken by you in your job.
Krishna Kishore Ganguly
Advocate, Kolkata
18547 Answers
449 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Unfortunately the specified work hours are not enforceable in your case. However, you should stick to your company policy as per your appointment letter.you do not come under the category of  work men  
You are first place human being so rest and relaxation is mandatory. You should raise this issue with the higher authorities and get a confirmation on your working hours. 
 If you feel your grievances are not addressed properly by the authorities, move too high court and file a writ which will also help many others like you.
 Medical council has come up with the directions of working  in normal conditions,however  there is no mention about hors of working in emergency or how the situation can be tackled with unavailability of proper staff.
Your institution being a capable public sector one who can afford sufficient staff should have enough people to be in work to manage the requirement. 
 Your question to"So If we are forced by our controlling officers to do more hours of duty than what is permissible, so are they punishable under law"
 yes they liable as they cannot force you to work overtime beyond your limit and specified working hours..

Get a clear idea about what are your working hours on a normal day from the institution and follow it up when you are asked to sa longer refuse it as they will not  be able to initiate any step against you legally. let them know your protest.
Thresiamma G. Mathew
Advocate, Mumbai
1515 Answers
134 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

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