Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

European Working Time Directive – 50 per cent of junior doctors in NHS Tayside working over the 48-hour limit with just over 8 weeks to go till its introduction

28 May 2009

Marlyn Glen has been informed by NHS Tayside that with just over 8 weeks to go to the introduction of the 48 -hour maximum working week for junior doctors under the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) , 50 per cent of the health board’s junior doctors are working on rotas that are currently over the 48 hour limit.

Ms. Glen had written to NHS Tayside seeking details of its progress towards full compliance with the Directive by 1 August.

She said,

” The successful implementation of the EWTD is of great importance to the health service.

” Two major purposes of the Directive within the NHS are safeguarding the quality of patient care and the ending the culture of excessive working hours for junior doctors.”

In a letter to Ms. Glen, NHS Tayside confirmed that the working hours of 50 per cent of the health board’s 529 junior doctors comply with the European Working Time Directive (EWTD).

All specialities are committed to reducing working hours to less than 48 by August and they would only anticipate potential problems with three rotas.

Two of these rotas are within Paediatrics and they are hopeful that further planned recruitment will resolve these problems.

Discussions are ongoing within the department to look at potential solutions.

The number and percentage of junior doctors in various specialities who are working over 48 hours a week currently in NHS Tayside are :

Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Medicine – 26 (43 %)

Clinical laboratory – 12 ( 50 %)

Medical specialities – 60 (58%)

Obstetrics and Gynaecology – 20 ( 100%)

Psychiatry – 10 ( 21%)

Surgical Specialities – 86 ( 80%)

Trauma and Orthopaedics – 25 (74%)

Neurosurgery – 6 ( 100%)

Neurology – 5 (83%)

Medical Paediatric Specialities – 16 (48%)

Ms. Glen said that she would be raising with Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon issues such as

· the funding of the costs to NHS Tayside of introducing the Directive

· the provision of medical training for junior doctors under the new 48-hour working week schedule

· testing the effectiveness of the compliance with the Directive

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