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EWTD Independent Taskforce Report

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04 Apr 2014

In October 2013, an independent taskforce was set up to evaluate the implementation of the Working Time Directive and its impact on the NHS and health professionals. The independent taskforce included representation from across the medical profession. It reviewed the evidence on the effect of the regulations on the delivery of patient care and the training of doctors. The final report of the taskforce was delivered to the Secretary of State for Health on 3 April 2014.

The final report makes six recommendations:

  • That the NHS should review best practice in the design of working practices, and share examples of the successful delivery of patient care and the training of junior doctors.
  • The specific challenges faced by some specialties should be addressed in further work.
  • The lack of flexibility brought about by the court judgments is tackled, whilst ensuring doctors don’t suffer undue fatigue.
  • The possibility of creating protected education and training time for junior doctors should be explored.
  • The findings of this report will need to be taken into account in the on-going contractual negotiations.
  • More consideration should be given to encourage wider use of the right for individual doctors to opt out of the current restricted hours.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh strongly supports the findings of this report. Departments and services must consider changing work practices and redesigning services to ensure maximum training opportunities and efficient service delivery within the existing rules.

The College also supports the principle that patient care must be a priority. It is essential continuity of care is delivered and efforts are made to reduce the risk of patients receiving care by tired doctors.

The final report of the independent working time regulations taskforce can be downloaded below.

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