Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Work directive risks lives, says Clark

The Labour Government is putting patients' lives at risk by playing the role of 'Good European' with the controversial working time directive, warns UKIP MEP Derek Clark.

Mr Clark, UKIP's East Midlands MEP, who sits on the employment committee in the EU ,says the UK is enforcing the directive even when it is not obliged to.

"Why is the UK Government trying to assume the validity of the working time directive when it was one of the first to claim retention of the opt-out," he asked.

"The UK remains in that position with the support of an ever-growing number of EU member states who are reaching the conclusion that they do not want the EU to dictate the number of hours that its people may work.

"Five years ago, only four member states wanted to retain the right to opt-out. That number is now 15 out of 27 members so what does that tell us?"

Mr Clark said that by restricting the number of hours that doctors in the NHS can work would seriously jeopardise the welfare of patients.

"This experiment in the NHS is flawed," he said. "And its the patients who will suffer when surgeons who want to follow their progress through admission, testing, diagnosis and clinical care, will be told to go home and hand the job over to a colleague.

"In this sort of scenario, there will always be a risk to the more seriously ill patients."

Mr Clark's comments followed a series of articles in the UK press slamming the introduction on August 1 of the working time directive in the NHS which will limit doctors to working an average of 48 hours a week.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, John Black, President of the Royal College of Surgeons said imposing the directive would wipe out half a million hours of available doctors' time and would see patients as guinea pigs.

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