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Kanagawa hospital slapped with labor standards advisory over doctor overtime hours

In this file photo, Kitasato University Hospital is seen on April 19, 2014, in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture. (Mainichi)

SAGAMIHARA, Kanagawa -- The labor standards office here issued a correction advisory to Kitasato University Hospital for having its doctors work illegal overtime, the hospital told the Mainichi Shimbun on Jan. 17.

The advisory from the Sagamihara Labor Standards Inspection Office is dated Dec. 27, 2017, and according to the hospital personnel department, it details the institution's failure to set doctor working hours in its labor rules, among other issues. A hospital representative declined to comment for the time being as to why the hospital did not set the rules, but explained, "We will take steps to properly manage our doctors in the future."

Under the hospital's administrative rules for employee working hours, designated working hours are set at 38 hours per week, and "overtime hours must be approved by the responsible party," along with other guidelines. However, this did not apply to doctors, and there were reportedly no rules concerning holidays and working hours specifically for physicians.

Kitasato University Hospital was founded in 1971. The facility is certified as one of 85 of the nation's advanced treatment hospitals that provide and develop top-of-the-line medical technology by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. According to an operating report submitted to the Kanto-Shinetsu Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare, the facility employed roughly 600 doctors and about 1,300 nurses as of October 2016.

The government is currently considering capping the upper limit on overtime hours as part of work-style reform policies, but has put a suspension of five years on any changes applying to doctors.

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