12-hour work: Intern doctor Natasha Naidoo.

A Joburg lawyer is preparing for a fight to force the government to improve shocking conditions under which junior and intern doctors have to work in public hospitals.

After failing at the Constitutional Court, Nicolette Erasmus has now approached the public protector and the Human Rights Commission for help.

Earlier this year, the Concourt dismissed an application by a young medical practitioner who cried foul over the placement and treatment of doctors doing their mandatory community service work.

Dr Miguel Desroches petitioned the court to force the Health Department to re-evaluate junior doctors’ long working hours which results in severe fatigue and impaired concentration while attending to patients.

One junior doctor who suffered severe consequences was * Matthew, a former Wits Medical School graduate.

Just over a year ago, Matthew climbed into his car after a shift at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, exhausted from a 33-hour work day, and had an accident

Matthew’s “day” had started at a 7am meeting at the Department of Health. This ended at noon. He went home to eat, bath and prepare for his night shift at the hospital which began at 8pm and ended at 4pm the following day.

Saturday Star