Doctors duty timings and schedules (in Pakistan)

There exists a wide variation in duty structure and schedule of doctors, not only in different hospitals but in different departments of the same hospital even. However, I’ll try to summarize the structure and schedule for duty timings in most of the hospitals in Pakistan.

First of all, one should understand that there are different levels of doctors working in any department. They can be listed in this sequence

  • Head of department (professor)
    • assistant professors
      • senior registrar
        • Medical Officers
        • Post Graduate Trainees
          • House officers

Professor and assistant professors are everyday on call. Means they’re responsible for whatever their team does but their presence has to be from 8am to 2pm in the hospital.

doctor tiredSenior registrars are supposed to be in hospital from 8am to 2pm too. But they’re supposed to visit hospital in the evening / night and do the “round” on their call day.

Post graduate trainees (pg) and house officers (ho) are supposed to be in hospital daily from 8am to 2pm. However, on their call day they’re not supposed to leave the hospital at all and be at their duty place (ward, emergency, OT). They’re practically running the hospital ward and emergency, specially after 2pm. The duty of pg and ho on call is continuous 30 hours (and 36 in some hospitals).

How many calls per week ? It depends on the number of doctors in the team. If there are 4 doctors and 2 doctors per day are on call, then it makes “alternate call” for them. Which means, they come 8’o clock in the morning of one day, leave the hospital at 2pm on next day. Then they come for duty at 8am on the next day and cycle continues.

Usually departments have 1 in 3 call (means 1 call every third day) or 1 in 4 too. However, alternate calls are very common too.

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