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Junior Doctors: Working Hours

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps have been taken to limit the working hours of junior doctors in the Province; and what restrictions there are on the maximum periods of time for which junior doctors can work without a break. (119147)

In 1991 my Department introduced a package of measures known as the New Deal designed to reduce junior doctor's hours. In addition, the European Working Time Directive, introduced in 2004, set further limits on hours of work.

My Department has established an advisory group to assist Health and Social Services employers in improving their compliance with the hours of work and rest requirements for junior doctors. The European Working Time Directive sets out a number of different rules on rest requirements for junior doctors including for example a maximum period of six hours work after which a minimum rest period of 20 minutes should be provided.