§ Dr. Roger Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, further to his reply of 11 February on the hours worked by the junior hospital staff in the National Health Service, if he is satisfied that the fact that between 25 and 35 per cent, of all junior hospital staff work over 100 to 104 hours weekly is consistent with good and safe medical practice; and if he will rectify this.
§ Dr. Vaughan
As my reply to the hon. Member on 11 February pointed out—[Vol. 998, c. 360-64]—in-formation is not available on the hours beyond the basic working week during which junior hospital doctors are working, as distinct from standing by in hospital or available on-call at home. These hours will, however, be significantly less than the hours contracted for duty or those quoted in the hon. Member's question.
Contracted hours of duty of a doctor in the training grades are for agreement between him and the consultant in the specialty concerned, whose responsibility it is to ensure that they are consistent with good medical practice. The terms and conditions of service of hospital medical and dental staff recommend a minimum of 88 hours a week of assured periods off-duty, provided that the needs of patients permit. I will continue to discuss with the professions how this can best be achieved.