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Hospitals: Manpower

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has undertaken in the last two years on the (a) minimum size and (b) staffing needs of (i) an accident and emergency unit and (ii) a maternity unit in order to meet the August 2009 requirements of the European Working Time Directive; what cost to the public purse he expects to arise from meeting those requirements; and if he will make a statement. (157005)

Local national health service trusts are responsible for implementing the European Working Time Directive (WTD) as part of their health and safety obligations. Strategic health authorities and the Department offer support with WTD planning. The Department is sponsoring NHS National Workforce Projects (NWPs) to support local implementation of WTD 2009. NHS NWPs has commissioned a range of pilots including cooperative solutions, team working, handover and escalation and 24:7 working (which include accident and emergency and maternity units). 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.