A questionnaire was sent to all Intensive Care Society linkmen to investigate weekend working arrangements on Intensive Care Units (ICU) in the United Kingdom. In all, 87 responses revealed that the average consultant covering ICU at weekends works a 1 in 6 rota, is responsible for 10 beds, works 8-9 h a day and receives two calls at night. Of consultants, 54% cover anaesthesia as well as ICU, 55% work a 48 h or 72 h weekend and only one in five consultants currently have fixed sessional allocation for weekend working. 83% felt that they should not cover anaesthesia as well as ICU and there was no support for consultants to be resident at night. Applying the terms and conditions of the new consultant contract for England to this average consultant would result in 6.6 Programmed Activities for the weekend and 2 days of compensatory rest.