HC Deb 15 March 2004 vol 419 c123W
Mr. Yeo

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact of the European working time directive on the number of hours a trainee surgeon will complete between senior house officer grade and obtaining a consultant post; and if he will make a statement. [160659]

Mr. Hutton

The minimum length of time for each higher specialist training programme is governed by the European Specialist Medical Qualifications Order 1995. These minima are expressed in terms of years rather than hours. The shortest minimum is three years and the longest five. Training in the United Kingdom complies with them in all cases and exceeds them significantly in many instances.

We have in place 20 European working time directive pilot projects, four hospital at night pilots, as well as a significant development programme linked to reform of postgraduate medical training. A vital element of this on-going work is to assess the inter-relationship between implementation of the directive and current proposals to reform medical training to ensure that it is better managed, structured and able to respond to the needs of patients and the service.