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NHS: Working Hours

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 22 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to defer the final implementation date of the 48-hour working week to 2012 as referred to in the answer of 21 May 2003 to the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell, Official Report, column 861W, on the working time directive. (125027)

The vast majority of national health service staff have been covered by the European Working Time Directive since 1998. The Government negotiated a staged implementation timetable for doctors in training and is funding pilot projects across the NHS to help trusts implement the 48-hour week from August 2009. Approximately 40 per cent. of doctors in training already work a 48-hour week.

We are monitoring evidence of NHS readiness for fully implementing the 48-hour week for doctors in training. This will inform our assessment of whether to approach the European Commission to use the 2012 derogation to support particular services or specialties.