Achieving compliance with the European Working Time Directive in a large teaching hospital: a strategic approach.

Clinical medicine (London, England)

PubMedID: 15536871

Jones GJ, Vanderpump MP, Easton M, Baker DM, Ball C, Leenane M, O'Brien H, Turner N, Else M, Reid WM, Johnson M. Achieving compliance with the European Working Time Directive in a large teaching hospital: a strategic approach. Clin Med. 2004;4(5):427-30.
This paper describes the strategy which achieved European Working Time Directive (EWTD) compliance at the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust in medicine and surgery. Compliance with EWTD regulations was assessed by diary card exercise, clinical care assessed through critical incident reports, electronic handover documents and nursing reports, training opportunities assessed by unit training directors, cost controls assessed by finance department analysis, and workload assessed by staff attendance on wards, in casualty and in theatres. There was a change in focus of care to a consultant-led, specialist registrar- (SpR-)driven service extending into evenings and on weekends, coupled with a move to a multi-skilled team for night cover, and to a move from traditional on-call shifts to a full shift system across both medicine and surgery. Compliance with the EWTD was achieved whilst maintaining good standards of clinical care, ensuring training opportunities for doctors in training, controlling payroll costs, removing the need for locums, and reducing workload for both junior doctors and consultants.