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J R Soc Med. 2001 February; 94(2): 77–78.
PMCID: PMC1297911

Cover arrangements for consultants on leave: an analysis of job descriptions.


There is much ambiguity about consultant leave allowances and arrangements for cover in the National Health Service. We analysed job descriptions for 47 consultant posts advertised in mid-2000. 35 defined a duty rota but only 3 mentioned specific available leave (all different). In 32 there was no mention of cover for colleagues on leave. When a consultant is absent, colleagues tend to provide cover for emergency cases but not for elective admissions, which are managed largely by junior doctors. This arrangement is particularly hazardous in surgical specialties. If elective surgery is to continue when the consultant is absent, arrangements for leave and cover need to be more clearly defined.

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  • Tytherleigh MG, Bhatti TS, Watkins RM, Wilkins DC. The assessment of surgical skills and a simple knot-tying exercise. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2001 Jan;83(1):69–73. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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