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European Working Time Directive

Volume 569: debated on Tuesday 22 October 2013

3. What assessment his Department has made of the effect of the European working time directive on patient care and the professional development of doctors. (900585)

We are aware that concerns exist about the impact of EU legislation on some areas of training and service delivery within the NHS, specifically the impact of the EWTD on patient experience and continuity of care, and the detrimental effect on the quality of training for doctors.

Harrogate hospital, which serves much of my constituency, suffers very badly from recruitment and retention issues as a result of the working time directive. Does the Minister agree that it, and other areas of social and employment law, should be front and centre of our renegotiation strategy prior to the referendum in 2017?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight some of the concerns that have been raised by the Royal College of Surgeons and other groups about the impact of the European working time directive in medicine. That is why we have tasked the royal college with investigating and doing some work on exactly what the impact is on surgical trainees and elsewhere in the health sector. We look forward to its reporting back, and I hope that that will be very informative for future discussions on other work force regulations.