Over the limit?
- By: Susan Mayor, Jane Burgermeister, Katka Kosner, Tiago Villanueva, Annette Tuffs, Brad Spurgeon, Fabio Turone, Muiris Houston, Tony Sheldon
The final phase of the European Working Time Directive came into force on 1 August. We report from some of the affected countries
Junior hospital doctors throughout Europe were supposed to start a new, shorter, 58 hour week. Aimed at improving their working lives-- and their patients' safety--the European directive aims to reduce the limit further to just 48 hours by 2009. But despite the new rules, many doctors will continue to work long hours.
United Kingdom: A recent survey of 100 NHS chief executives by the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS management, showed that 16% did not expect their trusts to have complied with the European Working Time Directive by 1 August. Junior doctors could take their employers to employment tribunals, and hospitals will be liable to fines of up to £5000 ($9200; a7600) from the Health and Safety Executive each time they break the directive.
The BMA said