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Doctors: Working Hours

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of NHS doctors of each specialty and grade which will be needed to meet the requirements of the European Working Time Directive in each of the next 10 years. (204224)

There were 46,783 doctors in training and equivalent grades working in the national health service as of 30 September 2007. This is an increase of 16,470 (54 per cent.) since 1997.

NHS trusts have successfully delivered the current European Working Time Directive (EWTD) requirements. The Department commissioned NHS National Workforce Projects to support local implementation of the final phase of EWTD requirements, namely the 48-hour working week for doctors in training. The solutions developed to support the local NHS do not rely on lots more doctors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS doctors worked for 48 hours a week or fewer in the latest period for which figures are available. (204530)

This information is not collected centrally. It is the responsibility of local employers to implement European Working Time Directive (EWTD) as part of their health and safety obligations. The new deal contract monitoring returns give an indication of national health service readiness for fully implementing the EWTD 48-hour week for doctors in training. Monitoring information for 2007 is published on the NHS employers website at:

www.nhsemployers.org/pay-conditions/pay-conditions-467.cfm.

In 2007, approximately half of doctors in training worked a 48-hour week.