Adopting a 'seven-day' roster in the health service would be a "practical way to tackle" overcrowding issues at hospitals around the country according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
The comments come after HSE chief executive Bernard Gloster appealed for HSE staff to volunteer to work over the June bank holiday weekend to avoid hospitals ending up in a "dreadful position".
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly also addressed the matter, stating the health system needs to offer services seven days per week all year round.
As reported by the Irish Examiner, Mr Donnelly said patients need access to health services every day of the week, adding that a move to a seven-day roster would "get rid of the scourge of patients on trolleys".
The INMO echoed this sentiment, noting their trolley watch figures show the number of patients left waiting for hospital beds spikes following a bank holiday weekend "as the bed numbers available over the weekend remain largely static".
"People get sick and need hospital care morning, noon and night no matter what day of the week it is," the union said, adding nursing and midwifery working patterns already reflect this.
The INMO added: "We must look seven-day rosters as a practical way to tackle this problem - all necessary dialogue with the health-sector unions, including the INMO, should start immediately to ensure all rosters and remuneration are fair and observant of agreements for shift workers."
Sinn Féin health spokesperson David Cullinane agreed the current Monday to Friday model for some health services is impacting the timely provision of care.
"I think in principle absolutely it's something that should be done. It already happens in nursing, it happens in other elements of the healthcare system, but I think what the head of the HSE is talking about is a totality of the healthcare service.
"There is a situation where we don't always get bang for our buck on weekends, and on bank holidays weekends especially, because the system isn't set up to deliver the type of care which can and should be delivered on weekends.
"I do think it makes sense to be looking at allied healthcare professionals, where contracts can be five/seven contracts, as they're called, rather than the five/five contracts which exist."