Press release

Royal College of Surgeons chair taskforce to review implementation of EU Working Time Directive in the NHS

Jeremy Hunt announces RCS is to chair an independent review of the implementation of the Working Time Directive on the NHS and doctors.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) is to chair an independent review of the implementation of the Working Time Directive (WTD) on the NHS and doctors Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced today.

The review, which will focus on how the Directive has been implemented, will make sure that continuity of patient care and opportunities for training are not being compromised.

Medical professionals and providers from across the NHS will be represented on the taskforce, including the British Medical Association (BMA). They will investigate the evidence and provide expert advice on the impact of the regulations on the delivery of patient care and the training of the next generation of doctors, including across different specialisms.

The taskforce will report to the Secretary of State for Health in January 2014 with recommendations for government policy on the implementation of the Directive, including practical recommendations for improving doctors’ contracts. By focusing specifically on the way the Directive is being brought in across the country and looking at best practice, the new taskforce hopes to come up with immediate solutions for mitigating the impact of the Directive.

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt said:

No-one wants to go back to the bad old days of tired doctors working excessive hours, but when senior clinicians tell us this directive’s implementation is harming patient safety and doctors’ training, it’s right that we take another look at it.

This independent review by clinicians for clinicians will give us a sensible, frontline view on the working hours of British hospital doctors.

Professor Norman Williams, President, Royal College of Surgeons said:

This is a vital piece of work and I am pleased to be chairing this taskforce.

There is a need for a deeper examination of the evidence on the impact and implementation of the reduced working hours on the delivery of care and training of doctors; the formation of this group will allow this.

We will then produce expert advice and practical solutions to the Secretary of State with the aim of improving patient care.

Notes to Editor

The following organisations will be on the taskforce:

  • Royal College of Surgeons (RCS)
  • British Medical Association (BMA)
  • Royal College of Physicians (RCP)
  • Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
  • Foundation Trust Network (FTN)
  • NHS Confederation
  • NHS Employers
  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)
  • Health Education England (HEE)
  • Academy of Medical Royal College Lay Advisory Group
  • Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Trainee Doctors’ Group
  • Association of Surgeons in Training
Published 11 October 2013