Independent EWTD Review

Issued by the News Distribution Service on behalf of NHS Medical Education England (MEE)

Professor Sir John Temple has launched his report ‘Time for Training’, an independent review of the impact of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) on the quality of training for doctors, dentists, pharmacists and healthcare scientists.

The report was commissioned by Medical Education England (MEE) at the request of the former Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson.

Sir John’s report concludes that high quality training can be delivered within the reduced number of hours available but fails if trainees:

  • have the major role in providing out of hours service;
  • are poorly supervised; or
  • have limited access to learning.

'Time for Training' focuses on the quality of training provided now and says any current problems will not be solved by either increasing hours or lengthening training programmes.

The Review reveals that, despite an increase of more than 60 percent in consultant numbers over the past ten years, hospitals remain too reliant on junior doctors to provide out of hours services.

Sir John recommends a move to a consultant delivered service, with consultants working more flexibly and more directly responsible for care around the clock, leading to better quality of diagnosis, better decision making and better patient outcomes and safety.

Some specialties, such as obstetrics and paediatrics, have already moved to more flexible consultant working, allowing trainees to gain the right experience under supervision.

Redesigning services to provide safer and better patient care can also support better training. There are already examples from around the country where this is happening.