Twenty-one acute hospitals confirmed they held no meetings of their European Working Time Directive (EWTD) implementation committees in 2022, show records released to the Medical Independent (MI).
In March 2022, the HSE instructed Hospital Groups to reconvene meetings of the committees following the cessation of the Covid-19 emergency period. It stated these committees should be reconvened monthly and include the hospital CEO, Director of Nursing, and NCHD representatives.
Out of the 39 hospitals that provided records to the HSE, 21 stated they held no meetings of local EWTD committees last year. Hospitals in the South/South West Hospital Group cited “service pressures” as the reason. Wexford General Hospital (WGH) and University of Limerick Hospital Group (ULHG) admitted that no local EWTD committees existed during the relevant period. Both WGH and ULHG intended to establish committees in 2023.
A further 12 hospitals claimed that EWTD monitoring was incorporated into other meetings.
The six hospitals that held standalone meetings were: St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin; Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin; National Orthopaedic Hospital Cappagh, Dublin; South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital, Cork; Tipperary University Hospital; and Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore. Of these, only Cappagh held monthly meetings in line with HSE instructions.
The NCHD agreement between the IMO and health service management in December 2022 included a commitment to agree upon a transparent verification and sanction process.
According to the HSE, it is continuing to engage with the IMO on the matter. “Activation of site EWTD committees is linked to the outcome of these discussions.”MI can also reveal that the HSE did not record fines to hospitals for breaching rules around NCHD working hours between March 2022 and December 2022. See news feature