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A HSE Internal Audit report found Roscommon University Hospital (RUH) did not have a “robust control process” to monitor, report, and manage NCHDs who exceeded 24 consecutive working hours resulting in non-compliance with the European Working Time Directive (EWTD).
The finding in the HSE report, dated December 2019, was based on a sample of 10 NCHDs over a four-week review period. The same finding applied to the average 48-hour week, based on a 13- week period. Working periods analysed were from 2018.
According to the report, there was a “risk that NCHDs may not have appropriate breaks during the working day or they exceed the 48-hour average over a sixmonth reference period” as set out in the relevant statutory instrument, “resulting in a breach of EWTD.”
There was also a “risk that if the 48-hour average week is exceeded over the reference period NCHDs and patients’ health and safety may not be safeguarded”.
The report recommended that RUH management should ensure the review and monitoring of minimum breaks, rest periods and the average working week over the reference period. Hospital management “should consider putting a EWTD implementation group in place”.
It noted feedback from hospital management that it was “devising a system for accurate monitoring of EWTD compliance” and establishing an implementation group.
In another finding, the report stated that 40 per cent of NCHD claim forms (including forms submitted for additional unrostered hours) were not signed or dated by the line manager or medical manpower.
A comment was awaited from Saolta University Health Care Group at press time.
According to HSE EWTD data for August 2020, acute hospitals reported 98 per cent compliance with the maximum 24-hour shift.