Press Release

Thursday, 19th March 2015

NCHDs (Doctors in Training) and European Working Time Directive – Court of  Justice Hearing
Case 2014/00897 – C-87/14 European Commission -v- Ireland

The Department of Health acknowledges that the EWTD has not been fully  implemented but good progress has been made in doing so. The Court of Justice heard the case on Wednesday, 4th March 2015. A full judgment by the Court is expected before the summer.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said: ‘We are committed to the full implementation of the EWTD. As a demonstration of that commitment, we have hired 400 additional NCHDs in the last two years and are close to eliminating shifts of longer than 24 hours. Reducing average working times to 48 hours or less per week remains a challenge, particularly in smaller hospitals.

‘It’s important to acknowledge that this is an opinion, not a final judgment. Agreement was reached with the IMO in the High Court settlement of 2010, that protected training time did not count as working time. However, that position is now in question pending the final judgment by
the European Court of Justice,’ Minister Varadkar concluded.

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