FF: Swift action needed on junior doctors' working hours

FF: Swift action needed on junior doctors' working hours
Billy Kelleher

Fianna Fáil are calling for the Health Minister to act quickly to ensure that junior doctors have safe working hours.

During the week, Ireland was found in a legal opinion to be in breach of the EU's Working Time Directive on working hours for Junior Doctors.

It was not a final ruling, but the opinion is likely to be upheld by the court.

The Directive requires that non-consultant hospital doctors work no more than 48 hours a week on average, receive breaks of 30 minutes every six hours, and receive 11 hours of rest in every 24 hours.

Currently in Ireland, rosters for some junior doctors in a hospital can still include a 32-hour shift. It is also not uncommon for them to be on a 24-hour shift.

Fianna Fáil's Health spokesman Billy Kelleher said having doctors work such long hours as they currently do puts patients at risk.

"When you have doctors working excessive hours on a continual basis, it could compromise the health of the patient, and of the doctor as well," he said.

"We can't have a situation where we have doctors who are on call for excessive hours providing health care to people when their own well-being is at risk as well."

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