Australian doctors, exhausted by their long hours on extended shifts, have been told to drink up to six cups of coffee a day to stay awake. This is adding pressure to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to seize control of state-run hospitals.
Queensland State health officials released a document on fatigue management that recommended doctors ingest 400 milligrams of caffeine to stay awake on the job, or the equivalent of six cups of coffee, after warnings that patients were dying. The document also said that compared with other psychoactive drugs, such as the prescription-only stimulant modafinil, caffeine was more readily available and less expensive.
A union representing Queensland doctors had warned that public hospital patients were dying because dangerously tired medics were being forced to work up to 80 hours without a break - and this is what prompted the recommendation.
Fancy a cuppa? Take a look at our list of coffee shops here