Nurses could lose Safeguards over Maximum Working Hours

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Safeguards that protect the working hours of Nurses, Doctors and other Healthcare Professionals are set to be removed in a ‘rejuvenated’ European Union (EU) Working Time Directive Bill.

The EU Working Time Directive that currently protects Nurses and other Healthcare Professionals by ensuring there is a set amount of hours between shifts and a maximum number of working hours per week, to ensure adequate rest, is set to be removed.

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This is the latest in a string of changes against healthcare staff and the safety of patients.

The bill amendment, currently passing through the House of Commons, is set to remove these safeguards that protect both patients and healthcare professionals. Due for its second reading this month the changes are proposed by Christopher Chope MP for Christchurch.

Department for Health officials have claimed for some time that this will allow greater flexibility for workers (1). But these changes, alongside the removal of financial penalties for trusts, leaves the system open to abuse.

Currently, there has been no consultation looking at the impact to the working-week of healthcare professionals, and the impact on safety for patients. Many Nurses are worried these changes will lead to tired Nurses and unsafe practice.

You can read about the progress of the bill here, and we encourage you to write to your local MP highlighting the effect that these changes would have on your practice.

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