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European Court ruling shows impact of cuts on Irish Health Service – Carthy

19 March, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP  for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy has commented on the opinion published by the European Court of Justice this morning, which finds Ireland has failed to fulfil its obligations under the EU’s Working Time Directive regarding the work practices of doctors in public hospitals.

Carthy said:

“The legal opinion published this morning finds that Ireland is in breach of its obligations under article 3,5 and 6 of the Working Time Directive.

“The Court found that the exclusion of training hours of non-consultant hospital doctors from the concept of working time was in breach of EU law.

“Non consultant hospital doctors are mandated to participate in the training programme and it is “extrinsically linked” with the other aspect of their work of providing medical care.

 “This case was referred to the European Court of Justice by the European Commission after it found that there were numerous cases where junior doctors in Ireland were required to work continuous 36 hour shifts, without adequate breaks averaging 70-75 hours in a single week.

“While I welcome the opinion this morning, it is a damning indictment of this Government and shows clearly the impact the recruitment moratorium in the public sector has had on our health services.

“It also shows the complete disregard that our Government has for the working conditions of our front line health staff.

“It shows the clear need for an adequately funded and properly resourced health system, which addresses the health needs of our population.

“It shows the need for our Government to get its house in order – it is a scandal that the European Court of Justice is tasked with the role of instructing our Government how to treat our front line health care staff.

“I am calling on the Government to take measures in order to ensure that the requirements of the Working Time Directive are implemented without further delay.”

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