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NHS: Working Hours

Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 17 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the tariff uplift breakdown for 2009-10, published by his Department on 5 February 2009, if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department’s background analysis of the sum required to support compliance with the European Working Time Directive. (262637)

The European Working Time Directive (EWTD) requires a 14 per cent. reduction in the maximum working hours of doctors in training, from 56 to 48 from August 2009. This equates to the hours provided by around 4,000 doctors in training. Implementation can be through a range of measures, including additional medical work force capacity at either junior or senior level, new ways of working so that non-medical staff can take up duties currently done by doctors in training or through service redesign such as implementing hospital at night working practices.

The Department is making a total of £310 million available by 2009-10 to support implementation in recurrent PCT allocations. In 2008-09, £110 million was included in the quantum of allocation funding in all primary care trusts (PCTs) receiving revenues growth of 5.5 per cent. In 2009-10, a further £200 million has been included in PCT revenue allocations, of which £150 million will flow through tariff income to trusts and the remaining £50 million in PCT revenue allocations will be targeted to trusts according to strategic health authority (SHA) direction to support trained doctor solutions, particularly in paediatrics and anaesthetics.

The Department has estimated that the full cost of implementation could be around £300 million per year. This calculation is based on an analysis of the difference in doctors being 100 per cent. compliant at 56 hours and 100 per cent. compliant at 48 hours, so includes a valuation of:

difference in pay to existing doctors; and

assessment of the value of hours lost.

This level of detail information of the background analysis is not held centrally.