Department of Health written question – answered on 20th October 2014.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent steps he has taken to ensure that surgeons do not work excessive hours.

Photo of Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

It is the responsibility of National Health Service trusts to ensure that service rotas are designed and staffed appropriately, and are in accordance with the Working Time Regulations.

The Department commissioned the Royal College of Surgeons to review the impact of the Working Time Directive on the health sector. A taskforce, chaired by Professor Norman Williams and comprising of representatives from across the medical profession, met on six occasions from October 2013 to February 2014 and a report was produced.

In relation to doctors working excessive hours, the report made recommendations that NHS trusts should review best practice in the design of working rotas and that the lack of flexibility be addressed whilst recognising doctors must not suffer undue fatigue.

The recommendations of the report have been accepted and the relevant organisations are taking them forward.

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