Answer given by Ms Thyssen on behalf of the Commission
The Commission takes note of the information provided by the Honourable Member on the application of Directive 2003/88/EC(1) to hospital staff in Italy.
While the aim of the Working Time Directive is to protect the health and safety of workers, it also takes due account of the requirement to ensure continuity of service and the related flexibility that is needed in certain sectors, including in the hospital and healthcare sectors. This is notably done by allowing Member States to implement into their national legislation certain derogations to the directive's provisions on breaks, daily rest, weekly rest, night work and the reference periods. This flexibility offered by the directive aims at allowing Member States to strike a balance between the protection of the health and safety of the workers concerned and the need to ensure continuity of service and to allow the treatment of urgent and vital cases.
As concerns a possible review of the directive, the results of the public consultation are being assessed.