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EU Legislation

European Commission survey on practical implementation of the Working Time Directive (September 2014)

In our response to the European Commission survey, we set out our concerns that the application of the WTD within the health service has led to a reduction in time available for training doctors, with priority going to service delivery. We also state our concern with the Directive's impact on patients, particularly with respect to the reduced ability for the medical team to provide continuity of care.

Draft EU Data Protection Regulation (May 2014)

The RCS has signed this joint position statement on protecting health and scientific research in the EU Data Protection Regulation, which is currently being considered by the European Parliament and Council.

The European Parliament has adopted amendments to the Regulation which would mean the use of individual patient data in research without specific consent would be prohibited or become impossible in practice.

This statement calls on MEPs, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers to oppose the amendments, which will put crucial medical and life sciences research at risk.

European Working Time Directive (March 2014)

The European Working Time Directive (EWTD) is part of the EU health and safety legislation which lays down requirements in relation to working hours, arrangements for night workers, rest periods and annual leave.

While individual doctors can choose to opt-out of the working time regulations, NHS trusts cannot force staff to opt-out, such that rotas must be planned to comply with these regulations. The reduction in hours for doctors and surgeons has meant therefore that NHS trusts have had to make changes in how they staff hospitals.

The College's background briefing sets out the impact of these changes and how the law can be altered to improve surgery and patient care.

In October 2013, Professor Norman Williams, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, was asked to chair an independent taskforce on the implementation of the Working Time Directive and its impact on the NHS and health professionals.

For further reading, see the final report of the independent working time regulations taskforce and the accompanying Chair's letter to the Secretary of State.

See the EWTD timeline for key events in the legislation's progress.

Medical devices (September 2013)

The European Commission is in the process of reviewing and amending existing legislation on the regulation of medical devices, which will affect all Member States. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) represents the UK position at these negotiations, and in January 2013 the College responded to their consultation seeking views.

The legislation is progressing, and ahead of key votes, the College advised MEPs directly on a number of key issues, outlined in these amendments to the draft and the briefing for the European Parliament.

EU healthcare proposals (November 2012)

The College has produced a briefing note outlining its stance on some of the key health policies currently being negotiated at EU level. This document was passed to the Lords' EU Subcommittee F ahead of its evidence session on EU healthcare proposals on Wednesday 21 November 2012.

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