Medical professionals have repeatedly issued stern warnings over new rules limiting the number of hours junior doctors can work. The rules, under EU regulations, which have now come into force, slash the working week from 56 to 48 hours. The Royal College of Surgeons and pressure group Remedy UK have repeatedly warned that the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) will wreak havoc – not least with the liklihood of a second wave of swine flu in the autumn.
Dr Andy Thornley, chairman of the British Medical Association's junior doctors' committee, repeated fears that doctors may have been asked to lie about their hours and warned of potential gaps in rotas. "The NHS has had a decade to prepare for the introduction of the 48-hour week for junior doctors, yet it is clear to those of us that work in the NHS that many trusts have not properly prepared for this change.
The health service has already had to cope with a wave of reforms and bureaucracy that has crippled the medical staffs ability to provide an effective service. Despite repeated warnings the government is oblivious to the dangers and is pressing ahead with this latest reform – provoking a complete shut down in the service.
We urgently call for an exemption from this EU directive to prevent the ensuing chaos that will unfold over the coming months as a result.
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