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Written Answers - Hospital Staffing

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 479.  Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty  asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr James Reilly Zoom on Dr James Reilly  the position regarding Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors in a hospital (details supplied) in Dublin 15; if his attention has been drawn to concerns raised by some junior doctors there that the call shifts can be excessive with some junior doctors expected to work 33 hours shifts, whereas other hospitals put a cap of 12 to 24 hours on shift duration; his views on the concerns of some junior doctors that this is an unsafe practice for doctors and patients alike; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23905/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr James Reilly Zoom on Dr James Reilly I have asked the Health Service Executive to investigate the position in relation to the shifts worked by NCHDs in the specific hospital referred to by the Deputy and to respond directly to him.

S.I. No. 494 of 2004 European Communities (Organisation of Working Time) (Activities of Doctors in Training) Regulations 2004, which transposed the EU Working Time Directive, provides for:

A maximum 48 hour average working week;

[492] 11 hours rest every 24 hours or equivalent compensatory rest before return to work; and

35 hours continuous rest per week or twice a fortnight or 59 hours continuous rest per fortnight.

On 13 January 2012, Ireland submitted to the EU Commission a detailed Plan for the achievement of compliance by NCHDs with the Working Time Directive. The plan affirms Ireland’s commitment to achieving compliance with the Directive and sets out a timeframe for achieving this over the next three years. It commits to implementing measures that will support compliance, including:-

a. The implementation of new work patterns for medical staff;

b. Transfer of work undertaken by NCHDs to other grades;

c. Organisation of hospital services to support EWTD compliance.

These measures will be complemented by my plan to establish hospital groups as soon as possible, by the efficiencies being driven by the Special Delivery Unit in association with the HSE’s National Clinical Programmes and by the ongoing changes in work practice being advanced under the Public Service Agreement.

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