Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Debate on weekend working

Funding is insufficient for the NHS to work at weekend as it does in the week

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 28 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1854
  1. Michael G Wyatt, honorary secretary1
  2. On behalf of Cliff Shearman, Paul Blair, John Thompson, Vince Smyth, Ian Loftus, Alison Halliday, Tim Lees, Robert Sayers, Matt Thompson, Shervanthi Homer-Vanniasinkam, Julian Scott
  1. 1Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Royal College of Surgeons, London WC2A 3PE, UK
  1. mike.wyatt{at}

The Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland agrees that we should provide seven day services to patients,1 if services are adequately resourced and the same facilities offered to all, whether weekday or weekend. This would include access to laboratory services, radiography, pre-assessment, theatre personnel, portering, nursing staff, vascular technicians, and senior management. We would require recognition within individual job plans of total hours worked, including adequate time for supporting professional activities and compensatory rest during the week. In addition, it is now recognised that vascular consultants should not have to maintain elective commitments when on take and should provide 24/7 cover to the modern vascular networks while based at the arterial hub hospitals. Any additional elective commitment to our service would require substantial improvements in staffing.

All of this will cost money, and although we favour the concept of seven day working, we do not believe that today’s NHS is sufficiently resourced to deliver safe and effective care at weekends and during the week. Until sufficient resources are identified, we believe that seven day working would result in serious patient safety issues and further “bad press” for the already stretched NHS.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1854


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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