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The effects of the European Working Time Directive on surgical training: the basic surgical trainee's perspective.BACKGROUND: On the 1 August 2009, the implementation of European Working Time Directive became European law and was implemented in Galway University Hospital (GUH). AIMS: The aim of the study is to ascertain the opinion of the 25 surgical SHOs in GUH on the effect of the implementation of an EWTD compliant roster had on the quality of their training. METHODS: A questionnaire was circulated to all 25 surgical SHOs. RESULTS: Twenty-two (88%) SHOs report a reduction in the quality of their training. 18 (72%) report a reduction in the development of their operative skills. The SHOs believed the EWTD Rotas would encourage Irish graduates to train abroad. CONCLUSIONS: Surgical training faces a challenge with the implementation of EWTD Rotas. Major changes need to be made to the surgical training structure to train surgeons to the highest standard and to retain Irish-trained surgeons in the Irish healthcare system.