HOSPEEM response to the Commission questionnaire on the practical implementation of Directive 2003/88/EC concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time

Introductory comments

This paper summarises the responses received from HOSPEEM members to the Commission’s questionnaire. As a general remark, HOSPEEM members believe that patients should not be treated by tired staff and that staff are entitled to fair working conditions. While the Working Time Directive has been fully implemented by HOSPEEM members, the Directive and the subsequent rulings of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) have caused the hospital and healthcare sector problems and have imposed significant and unnecessary costs on hospital and healthcare employers.

The main problems emerging from the SiMAP and Jaeger judgments are around the interpretation of the term working time for on-call duties and the requirement for immediate compensatory rest. These rulings have caused serious problems in the operation of health systems and have led to Members States recruiting extra staff to prevent gaps in patient services at a large cost without improving productivity.  HOSPEEM members have been both gainers and losers.  In order to resolve the problems caused by the SiMAP and Jaeger judgments, some HOSPEEM members recruited staff from outside Europe as well as healthcare staff from the new Member States.  Losing staff in this way has had a large adverse impact on those health systems.

FULL TEXT: HOSPEEM Answer WTD questionnaire