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Indian doctors clock highest work days and hours than their counterparts in US and Japan (M3 India survey)

M3 India Newsdesk Jul 02, 2018

Full work weeks and long hours are a given among doctors all over the world, but the number of days and hours clocked in by doctors in various parts of the world differ somewhat. M3 India’s recent global survey throws light on the number of work days per week and work hours per day of medical professionals in three countries- India, US, and Japan, among specific age groups.


Here we present to you Part 1 of the survey results which tried to understand how working hours span out for doctors across 3 countries- India, US, and Japan.

Comparison of work days per week*

Working days decrease with increasing age in US and Japan but that is not true in India. Indian doctors, irrespective of age or specialty tend to work 7-day work weeks as compared to doctors in US and Japan.


In India, a 7-day work week seems to be common practice for interns and residents (25%) as compared to US and Japan. The US result however is clear cut- 70% of junior doctors regularly work 6 days per week, and 30% work 5 days per week. Japan had more doctors (52%) going through 5-day work weeks.

28% Indian doctors continue 7-day work weeks and 64% work 6 days per week even after they become senior residents and physicians. Unlike India, a 5-day work week is more common among senior residents and physicians in the US (59%) and Japan (44%), as compared to 6 days of work.

Forty to forty-nine years is when doctors begin establishing themselves in their respective specialties while also focusing on setting up private practice. During this time, work load pretty much remains the same for Indian doctors with the majority still working 7- or 6-day work weeks. Lesser number of US doctors (22%) work 6-days and in Japan, the percentage of doctors working 6- and 5-day shifts is almost the same (43 and 45% respectively) in this age group. Similar trends can be seen for the 50 and above age group as well.


Comparison of work hours per day*

Indian doctors routinely work more days per week, the number of hours per day of work is almost the same for doctors in all the three countries (India, US, and Japan) surveyed.


Interns and junior residents in the US (33%) have it harder than their contemporaries in India and Japan, regularly working more than 14 hours per day. The percentage gradually reduces among physicians in all three countries as age increases (12% between 30-39 years and around 8% between 40-49 years and 50 and above in in India, US, and Japan) and they advance more in their chosen specialties.

Twelve to thirteen-hour days are also common among interns and junior residents across all three countries surveyed, again becoming significantly less as they grow older. On an average, at least 30% doctors in all three countries work 10 to 11 hours per day and around 25% work 8 to 9 hours per day. 19.4% of Indian doctors ages 50 and above work less than 7 hours a day, focusing more of their time on private practice or academic lectures.


Of all three countries surveyed, Indian doctors seem to be at work the most number of days in a week, but US doctors seem to work the most number of hours per day. Japan was well-balanced in both categories having 5- or 6-day work weeks, showing larger percentages of >12 hours work day only in the first two groups (ages 20 to 29 and 30 to 39) and the same for 8 to 9 or 10 to 11-hour work days across all age groups surveyed.

To read part 2 of the survey which discusses doctor workload among doctors in India, US, and Japan, click here.

To read part 3 of the survey which discusses professional satisfaction among doctors in India, US, and Japan, click here.

To read part 4 of the survey which discusses about when doctors in India, US, and Japan decide on their career and if they would recommend their professions, click here.

To read part 5 of the survey which investigates how easy or difficult it is for doctors to avail childcare leave in India, US, and Japan, click here.

To read part 6 of the survey which investigates work-life balance of doctors in India, US, and Japan, click here.

To read part 7 of the survey which discusses doctors' views on the healthcare systems in their respective countries- India, US, and Japan, click here.

To read part 8 of the survey which reveals the country that ranks best across various parameters like healthcare system, quality of medical care, work environment, salary, and basic medical reasearch, click here.


*This data should be read as indicative of rather than exact figures.

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