Press Release

Martin committed to reducing junior doctors’ working hours

The Minister for Health and Children welcomes the agreement reached in Brussels on Monday between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament on the draft Directive on Working Time which will extend the protection of the original 1993 Directive to junior hospital doctors.

The Minister is committed to achieving this in 9 years. Much of the preparatory work is already in hand. PA Management Consultants are undertaking a study of NCHD hours at eight hospitals. This study has been commissioned on a joint basis by the Health Service Employers Agency and the Irish Medical Organisation.

The Minister believes that the compromise reached on Monday represents a reasonable compromise between the original positions taken by the parties.

Ireland has always indicated its wish to have the level of protection afforded by the 1993 Directive extended to hospital doctors. We have previously indicated our commitment to introduce a 48 hour week for junior doctors at least as quickly as any requirement contained in the Directive. We hope to achieve this in a spirit of partnership with hospitals and the medical profession.

Implementing the Directive will involve major changes in the way hospitals are staffed and run. These issues are also being addressed by the Medical Manpower Forum.