Press Release

Plan for Implementation of EWTD in Ireland – Doctors in Training

Ireland has submitted on 13th January a Plan to achieve compliance with the Directive. This was in response to the Reasoned Opinion forwarded by the Commission to Ireland on 30 September 2011 stating that NCHDs work average hours which exceed the limit fixed by the Directive and are not provided with minimum daily and weekly rest in accordance with the protections in the Directive.

The response addresses the Reasoned Opinion in the following manner:

  • It affirms Ireland’s commitment to achieving compliance with the Directive.
  • It sets out a timeframe for achieving EWTD compliance over the next 3 years.
  • It identifies the establishment of a national high level EWTD Implementation Group by the HSE.
  • It commits to implementing other measures that will support compliance, including:-
    1. The implementation of new work patterns for medical staff
    2. Transfer of work undertaken by NCHDs to other grades
    3. Organisation of hospital services to support EWTD compliance. This will complement the reform of acute hospital care currently being advanced by the SDU in association with the HSE’s National Clinical Programmes and new governance arrangements being developed for the HSE.
  • It also commits to providing the Commission with an annual progress report.


The European Working Time Directive (EWTD) was transposed as regards doctors in training in Ireland by the EC (Organisation of Working Time Act) (Activities of Doctors in Training) Regulations 2004, S.I. No. 494/2004.

The Directive provided for daily breaks and minimum periods of daily and weekly rest from 1 August 2004.

In addition, since the 1st August 2009 NCHDs are prohibited from working in excess of 48 hours for each seven day period, averaged over the roster period.