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Working Time Directive

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS in (a) financial terms and (b) staffing of including on call time within the 48 hour week provided for by the European Working Time Directive. [110945]

Implementation of the European Working Time Directive requires the hours of work of doctors training to reduce to 58 hours from August 2004 and to 48 hours by 2009, or 2012 with an extension. While the number of doctors on an individual rota on call will generally have to increase to implement the 2004 requirements, the intention of the Department's guidance—HSC 2003/001: Protecting Staff, Delivering Services—Implementing the European Working Time Directive for Doctors in Training—is that trusts should find ways to reduce the number of resident rotas. Thus the total staffing requirement and costs do not increase substantially as a result of the Working Time Directive.