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NHS: Working Hours

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 12 September 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the variety in the interpretations and determinations of the European Working Time Directives in relation to hospital staff in England; and if he will make a statement. (155269)

The Government are fully committed to the implementation of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD), as part of health and safety law.

The EWTD was implemented for the vast majority of national health service staff groups in 1998 in accordance with regulations. The Government negotiated an extension to the EWTD for doctors in training to enable phased implementation from August 2004.

The Department is sponsoring NHS national workforce projects to support local EWTD implementation for doctors in training through a range of pilots including cooperative solutions, team working, handover and escalation and 24:7 working. The pilots take in a wide variety of organisations to look at solutions which are transferable across the NHS. There is ongoing evaluation of the pilots to share lessons learned as early as possible.