South African Journal of Surgery
On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Print version ISSN 0038-2361
BACKGROUND: Surgical training has undergone major changes worldwide, especially with regard to work hour regulations. Very little is known regarding the situation in South Africa, and how it compares with other countries. METHOD: We conducted a retrospective review of the hours worked by surgical residents in a major university hospital in South Africa. RESULTS: The attendance records of 12 surgical residents were reviewed during the three-month study period from January 2013 to March 2013. Ten were males. The mean age of the residents was 33 years. The mean total hours worked by each resident each month was 277 hours in January, 261 hours in February and 268 hours in March. The mean monthly total over the study period was 267 hours. This equates to approximately 70 hours per week. CONCLUSION: The average surgical resident worked 70 hours per week in our unit. This was shorter than that in USA, but higher than that in Europe. There is likely to be a degree of heterogeneity between different training units, which needs to be explored further if a more accurate overall picture is to be provided.