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European Working Time Directive


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31 Mar 2017

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has today called for the European Working Time Directive to be directly transfered into UK law to ensure continuity for the medical workforce after Brexit. This would then give Parliament the power to amend and improve the regulations to better meet the needs of the medical workforce in general and surgeons in particular.

President Michael Lavelle-Jones said:

“RCSEd recently outlined 11 areas related to healthcare that will need to be addressed following Brexit. Amongst these were working time regulations. Whilst withdrawal from the EU gives the opportunity to develop proposals which explicitly suit the needs of the UK health services, we cannot allow a period of uncertainty between the repeal of the European Working Time Directive [EWTD] and the establishment of a replacement.

"Whilst some people would welcome greater liberalisation of the regulations we would argue that any changes should not result in an increase in the maximum number of hours which it is legal to work. That is why, although we believe the EWTD could be improved, we have argued against large scale opt-outs by medical professionals.

"As such, we are calling for the EWTD to be transferred into UK law as a basis upon which to build and improve. We will be working with our membership to identify specific improvements that can be made and I look forward to working with the Government to implement them after the EWTD has been transferred.”

Over the coming weeks RCSEd will be working with our membership across the UK to draw upon their experience to establish a number of recommendation as to how these regulations can be improved. To get involved in this work or for more information please contact Andrew Mullinex at a.mullinex@rcsed.ac.uk.


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