Published: 16/09/2004, Volume II4, No. 5923 Page 39

Anxious days for Rosemary Cook as the European working-time directive implementation deadline passes

Monday 2 August

Days since WTD deadline - 1

Anxiety level - very red

Returned from two weeks' holiday.

Decision to go away just before working-time directive compliance deadline vindicated: team has handled all last-minute calls, no major crises, and nobody could contact me if there were.

Should have gone further than Isle of Wight though, to avoid newspaper scare stories about non-compliance.

Invented a new game: 'Spot the Manager', working out which trusts provided anonymous media gloom.

Everyone is suspiciously cheerful - perhaps their holidays are in August.No time for television.

Tuesday 3 August

Days since WTD deadline - 2

Anxiety level - red

Teleconference with other New Ways of Working managers: lots still to do.Newspapers gone quiet.Then a colleague phones to say turn on Radio 2, the British Medical Association is on - and by the way they were talking about WTD on Holby City .Resolve to put 'worklife balance'on the agenda for our next team meeting.

Refuse to watch Holby City .

Wednesday 4 August

Days since WTD deadline - 3

Anxiety level - amber

Catch up on latest crises via Metro paper on the train to Leeds.Shocking stuff - brings the whole organisation into disrepute, must lead to resignations at the top.Maybe even the very top... 'Compliance'obviously has whole different meaning at the Football Association.

Only watch the sports news.

Thursday 5 August

Days since WTD deadline - 4

Anxiety level - amber/red

Spent the day in meeting with the great and good in maternity and paediatrics.How to improve services, make them child or woman-centred, implement the national service framework and still maintain WTD compliance? Answers on a clinic card, please.

Bravely watch a whole news summary.

Friday 6 August

Days since WTD deadline - 5

Anxiety level - green

Long teleconference this morning to agree project plan for central support to local mat'n'paeds networks.Need co-ordinator and lots of clinical champions.Afternoon work on anaesthetics - only 28 specialties to go.

Quick check of the media - just the usual stories about crisis, panic and collapse of the NHS.First week over.

Rosemary Cook is Modernisation Agency WTD programme head.