HC Deb 07 September 2004 vol 424 cc1102-3W
Mr. Norman

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many(a) house officers, (b) senior house officers, (c) specialist registrars, (d) general practitioners, (e) consultants, (f) associate specialists, (g) staff grades and (It) clinical assistants have signed a formal opt-out from the Worki#g Time Directive; [186362]

(2) how many (a) primary care trusts, (b) acute hospital trusts and (c) social care trusts have medical staff who have signed a formal opt-out from the Working Time Directive. [186365]

Mr. Hutton

The Working Time Directive is a legal requirement on which implementation is being taken forward locally.

Under Regulation 5 of the Working Time Regulations 1998, individuals are allowed to voluntarily agree in writing with their employer to exceed the maximum average weekly working time of 48 hours. As this is an agreement made locally, information on take-up is not held centrally.

Mr. Norman

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what evidence he has collated following the results from the Working Time Directive Pilots Programme on whether the NHS will be compliant with the European Working Time Directive on 1 August; [186363]

(2) what recent representations he has received on the ability of (a) anaesthetic, (b) maternity, (c) paediatric, (d) general surgical and (e) general medical services to comply with the European Working Time Directive. [186364]

Mr. Hutton

Strategic health authorities are responsible for performance managing trust implementation of Working Time Directive (WTD) compliance for doctors in training from 1 August 2004. The Working Time Regulations have applied to all other national health service staff since 1998 and trusts are expected to comply with them in the same way as any other national legislation. The Department does not routinely collect information on compliance either by trust or by specialty.

The vast majority of trusts are now fully compliant. A handful of trusts are having problems in securing compliance in a limited number of specialties.

We are working in partnership with the British Medical Association, the Royal Colleges and the Modernisation Agency to support those trusts finding compliance particularly difficult. The Modernisation Agency WTD team offers expert advice and the sharing of good practice solutions throughout the NHS.