NHS will need 100,000 more doctors to meet working hour rules

14 Jun 01
The British Medical Association has warned the government that it must provide billions of pounds if it is to recruit the extra 100,000 doctors needed to meet European Union rules on working hours.

15 June 2001

The warning from the BMA's junior doctors' committee was voiced by deputy chairman Paul Thorpe at its conference on June 8. He was speaking on the impact of the European Working Time Directive, which will be phased in from 2004 for doctors in training, who are currently excluded from the legislation.

According to Thorpe, the UK will need to double the number of doctors working in the NHS to 200,000 if the directive is to work.

It will cut the hours doctors can work a week from 72 to 58 initially, then to 56 in 2007, before finally reaching the 48 hours target in 2009–12.

'The directive is a positive driver for quality care, but we want the government to recognise the level of investment – we are looking at doubling the number of doctors,' Thorpe said.

'In 2004, loads of doctors could be working outside the European Working Time Directive.'


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