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Doctor Resting Head on Wall Photo by: Getty

Ireland must reduce doctors' working hours or face legal action warns European Commission

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Doctor Resting Head on Wall Photo by: Getty

The European Commission has warned Ireland to reduce doctors' working hours in accordance with EU law or face legal action in the European Court of Justice, reports the Irish Times.

The commission said that Irish doctors, who in some cases work 100-hour weeks, were  potentially putting patients at risk. The maximum hours a doctor can work under EU law is 48 hours.

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“In Ireland’s case, national law provides for limits to doctors’ working time, but in practice public hospitals often do not apply the rules to doctors in training or other non-consultant hospital doctors,” the commission said in a statement. “There are still numerous cases where junior doctors are regularly obliged to work continuous 36-hour shifts, to work over 100 hours in a single week and 70-75 hours a week on average and to continue working without adequate breaks for rest or sleep.”

The government has two months to comply with the law before it goes to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

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