Medical interns (junior doctors) work around 240 hours of unpaid overtime a year, which corresponds to a month and a half of unpaid work. A third of them work 24-hour shifts. A survey released today gives an idea of the conditions facing some of the brightest young people in this country – the vast majority of whom work in hospital accident and emergency departments at weekends and on public holidays, “often giving up the time off to which they are legally entitled in order to ensure the smooth running of the department to which they belong”, says the report. The survey also discovered that one in four interns work shifts in A&E departments without a specialist doctor being present (as should be the case). Its findings will be presented tomorrow at the Nova Medical School in Lisbon – the bottom line message being that it is “essential to invest in improving working conditions and the quality of postgraduate training for medical interns” if the SNS State health system wants to retain the talent that are its upcoming doctors.