Intended for healthcare professionals


Pressure mounts over European Working Time Directive

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 15 April 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:911

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  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. Utrecht

    Pressure is mounting across the European Union for changes to theEuropean Working Time Directive before the 1 August deadline requiring junior doctors to work an average 58 hour week.

    A United Kingdom House of Lords committee report warned last week of a potential staffing crisis equivalent to losing 3700 junior doctors.

    The Dutch government is calling for changes “before the summer” if it is to avoid spending €100m (£66m; $122m) on extra staff. Germany has said that the directive could mean increasing doctors' numbers by nearly a quarter, costing €1.75bn.

    These views have been fed into the European Commission's “consultative review” of the directive, which closed on 31 March.

    Concerns centre on two rulings by the European Court of Justice, covering resident on-call duties and compensatory rest periods. In 2000 the Sindicato de Médicos de Asistencia Publica judgment …

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