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Health Professions: Working Hours

Volume 493: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his most recent assessment is of the effects of the European Working Time Directive on hospital staff. (276715)

The national health service has made excellent progress in implementing this important legislation, which ensures that patients receive safe, high quality care from staff that have not been forced to work excessive hours. Only the junior doctors in training remain to become compliant by 1 August and two-thirds of them are already working a 48-hours week averaged over 26 weeks.

The United Kingdom Government notified the European Commission in January 2009 of its assessment of progress in achieving compliance with the European Working Time Directive by doctors in training. A copy of the UK notification of Derogation for Doctors in Training has already been placed in the Library. The Department is working closely with the medical royal colleges, the British Medical Association and strategic health authorities to ensure trusts are prepared for full implementation.