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The European working time directive
  1. P Nucci
  1. Correspondence to: Professor Paolo Nucci University of Milan, Via Abruzzi, Milan, Italy; p.nucci{at}

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An Italian ophthalmologist’s view

The European working time directive (EWTD), written by the Council of the European Union (93/104/EC) to protect the health and safety of workers in the European Union, is an excellent opportunity for the British NHS to modernise its services. It lays down minimum and maximum requirements regarding working hours, breaks, annual leaves, and schedules/arrangements for night workers. The directive was enacted in 1998 in Great Britain as the working time regulations. Since 2004, this health and safety legislation has been extended to doctors in training who have traditionally worked long hours and overtime and who are essential to any health system in providing complete medical coverage to patients. These regulations are directed at employers, building on the progress already made through the “new deal.” They are …

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