Hospitals face up to €2m in fines for long doctors' hours

Irish hospitals could be facing fines for breaching EU employment laws.

According to the Sunday Business Post, an estimated 20 acute hospitals have been breaking the rules.

Fines could range from €650,000 for large hospitals to €225,000 for smaller ones.

Hospitals could face fines of over €2m for failing to abide by the European Working Time Directive which state that doctors must not work shifts of longer than 24 hours, and must have proper breaks and rest periods.

The issue was at the core of a junior doctor's strike in October last year, as part of a long-running dispute.

The Irish Medical Organisation estimates that 20 out of 45 hospitals have failed to ensure the minimum 90% compliance with the guidelines which ensures that medical staff are not dangerously overworked.

Smaller hospitals, which can find it harder to recruit, especially with a shortage of doctors and high emigration, could face financial sanctions of up to €225,000 a year for making staff work beyond the terms of the Working Time Directive.

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