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NHS reviewed for EU work directive

22nd May 2009

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has said an independent review will be launched to investigate the effect of the EU working time directive on junior doctors' training.

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The new limit comes into force in August and restricts working hours to a maximum of 48 hours per week.

Concerns have been raised about how the limit will impact on junior doctors' training.

Mr Johnson has approached Medical Education England, an advisory body on doctors' training, to explore the issues involved.

As the August deadline approaches, junior doctors have been preparing by decreasing the number of hours they work.

The British Medical Association said this meant junior doctors had fewer hours to devote to studying, because the majority of their time was spent seeing patients on hospital wards.

Mr Johnson said: "Given the concerns raised by some it is important that there is an independent and objective assessment into whether the introduction of the directive will necessitate changes to the current system of postgraduate medical training."

Dr Andy Thornley, chairman of the BMA's junior doctors committee, said: "Junior doctors currently deliver a large proportion of service in hospitals, but they also need time to train to become the consultants and GPs of tomorrow."

 

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