MP Charlotte Leslie wants to scrap doctors hours rule

Charlotte Leslie
Image caption Charlotte Leslie's bill has little chance of progressing without government support

A Conservative MP has introduced a private member's bill to exempt some junior doctors from the EU working time directive.

Charlotte Leslie introduced her bill because she says doctors in acute medical and surgical services need to work more than 48 hours a week.

Ms Leslie said the directive was "endangering patients" and "cannot be allowed to continue".

The MP, who represents Bristol North West, is the daughter of a surgeon.

Orthopaedic consultant Ian Leslie, who works in the city, told the BBC that he supported the bill's aims.

'Grim irony'

Ms Leslie said the "well-meaning" directive had backfired, decreasing the standard of care hospitals could provide.

"First, continuity of care is being eroded. Secondly, trainee doctors are being denied the training that they need.

"Thirdly, appropriate clinical expertise is not available to patients when they need it, and fourthly, I add with a certain grim irony that junior and senior doctors are more exhausted by the shift rotas that the directive imposes than they were before."

She said that for the patient, the constant swapping of on-shift doctors meant they felt like their care was a "pass the parcel" game.

Longer hours would allow doctors to concentrate more on patients under their care, she claimed.

The bill is only likely to progress if the government chooses to support it, but the government has already indicated that it will review the way the working time directive applies to the medical profession.

Members of the armed forces and police are already exempt from the regulation.

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