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Surgery: Training

Volume 481: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact of the EU Working Time Directive on the effectiveness of surgical training; what representations he has received from the Royal College of Surgeons on the matter; and if he will make a statement. (225299)

The Department has received a small number of representations from the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) about the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) and the impact of SiMAP and Jaeger European Court of Justice Rulings in reducing the number of operations undertaken by trainee surgeons. This includes letters and discussion points at meetings.

The Government highlighted the importance of supporting surgical training when striving for changes to the EWTD. The European Council of Employment Ministers agreed in June that the EWTD should be amended and negotiations have moved forward to the European Parliament.

The Government have sponsored research by the RCS (and the Royal College of Anaesthetists) to identify how surgical and anaesthesia services are attempting to meet the requirements of WTD 2009 and to formulate appropriate advice and examples of good practice.

Several North West trusts have achieved the 48-hour week requirement a year early and maximised training opportunities for surgeons through introducing innovative working patterns, in consultation with their doctors in training.