THE EUROPEAN WORKING TIME DIRECTIVE
In May of this year 4349 doctors signed a petition to the government:
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to listen to the voice of the surgical profession and elected patient groups in allowing surgeons the flexibility to work hours in excess of the European Working Time Directive……..”
Yesterday, there was a response from The Prime MInister’s office.
“The European Working Time Directive (EWTD) is health and safety legislation introduced in 1998. It will benefit patient safety and the wellbeing of those healthcare professionals who treat and care for them. By complying with the EWTD average 48-hour working week averaged over 26 weeks, we can ensure we have well-rested doctors who make good use of their training time and provide high-quality care for their patients. No one wants or deserves to be treated by a tired doctor who may make mistakes. Implementation of the Directive means that all NHS staff can enjoy a sensible work-life balance.
Junior doctors in training are the only group within the NHS whose working hours are not yet fully compliant with the EWTD. There have been reductions in maximum average hours to 58 hours in 2004, to 56 hours in 2007 and finally to 48 hours by 1 August 2009.
NHS North West is demonstrating that EWTD compliance can be achieved consistent with the provision of effective services and training. By October 2008, about 95 per cent of doctors in the North West and 36 out of 38 organisations were compliant, a year ahead of the 2009 requirement. Most UK doctors in training already comply with the EWTD, and the overwhelming majority will do so by 1 August this year.”……..
A junior doctor tell’s how it is:
“But you didn’t look at the evidence, which all shows that you need to be working old-school hundred-hour-plus weeks for errors actually to increase. Instead, you cobbled together a study of 19 doctors in Warwick where you had to count patients falling over as ‘errors’ to get a significant result.
It’s pathetic, and the sooner we get rid of this shower the better. “
And in the comments section, a farmer wonders how he will comply. Will he just starve his cows?