Doctors from more than 50% of hospitals in the UK have not accepted the introduction of the country’s new 48-hour working time limit.

A study conducted by the UK Conservative Party under the Freedom of Information Act showed only about 30% are compliant with the working time directive, 24% are willing to be compliant by 1 August 2009 and another 43% are assessing the change.

New rules introduced this year restrict doctors’ working hours to 48 a week – a limit some medical practitioners fear could affect the quality of doctor training and patient safety.

Problems with recruitment are also causing concern, according to a report in the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The UK Government says it accepts that the introduction of the directive will create concerns in certain areas of practice and has asked for an opt-out from the EU, which would help doctors in emergency medicine or in rural areas to work up to 52 hours a week.

By staff writer.