HSE called in over breach of work time law

Birmingham
Heartlands and Solihull NHS Trust has been reported to the Health and Safety
Executive for failing to implement the European Working Time directive.

The
British Medical Association has accused the trust of failing to monitor
doctors’ hours and claimed that as a result senior doctors were likely to be
working excessive hours.

The
directive, introduced into UK law in 1998, limits senior doctors to working 48
hours a week. It does not yet apply to juniors.

This
is the first time the BMA has taken action, despite threatening for the past
year to pursue legal sanctions against trusts that are failing to meet the
legislation’s requirements.

An
agreement between the BMA and the Government sets out minimum rest periods and
includes resident on-call work in the 48-hour limit.

In
a letter to the HSE, Anna Ferrant, principle executive officer for the BMA’s
Central Consultants and Specialists Comm- ittee, said the trust has
"chosen to ignore the terms of the collective agreement and has therefore
failed in its obligations as an employer to protect the health and safety of
its senior doctors."

The
HSE has the power to bring court action, which can lead to the trust being
fined up to £5,000 if it is found guilty.`

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