Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Questions (264)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

264. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the extent to which the context of the review of the Croke Park agreement or other discussions, it might have been found possible to identify the needs of public sector workers currently working in excess of the statutory working week with a view to minimising on them the impact the extent to which cost-cutting measures arising from the implementation of the memorandum of understanding entered into by his predecessors particularly for those working in frontline or stressful situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10709/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The circumstances of workers in all sectors, including those working in excess of the statutory working week, were taken into account in the review of the Public Service Agreement and are reflected in the agreement reached.

The Government is committed to achieving compliance with the European Working Time Directive, and related Irish legislation, in respect of NCHDs by 2014. I have emphasised to the Health Service Executive the high priority the Government and I attach to this issue .

In January 2012, a detailed plan for the achievement of compliance by NCHDs with the Working Time Directive was submitted to the EU Commission. The plan affirmed Ireland's commitment to achieving compliance with the Directive over a three-year time period. It committed to implementing the measures necessary, including new work patterns for medical staff, transfer of work undertaken by NCHDs to other grades and the organisation of hospital services to support compliance.

The HSE's National Service Plan 2013 states that there will be a particular focus in the acute hospital service on the achievement of compliance with the European Working Time Directive amongst the non-consultant hospital doctor workforce. National Standards for reducing NCHD hours, which will be used to assess progress on a site by site basis, have recently been drawn up and issued to hospital managers and clinical directors. The HSE has also recently established a national group chaired by a senior executive to bring a clear and urgent focus to implementation of the Directive, assessment of performance and site by site accountability for change.