Pay and contract reform for consultants: an update

Sharon Gregory outlines the submission from NHS Employers to the review on reforming consultants’ contracts.

Following the breakdown in talks between the government and the BMA last autumn the Government wrote to the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) asking for observations and recommendations on the contract reforms. The DDRB is due to report its final findings this summer.

Ahead of the final submission, the following bullet points summarise the submission made by NHS Employers as part of the review process:

• Removal of the contractual barriers to facilitate the introduction of seven day services, including the removal of the right to opt-out of non-emergency evening and weekend work in premium time and an extension to plain time coverage.
• The introduction of a schedule of safeguards to ensure staff are appropriately protected where the service moves to the provision of seven day services.
• A revised pay structure that appropriately rewards those staff that contribute the most and work the hardest and most onerous working patterns.
• Bringing to end incremental pay progression based on time served.
• The linking of pay progression to higher levels of responsibility and competence.
• Abolishing the current nationally prescribed local clinical excellence award arrangements and replacing them with new locally determined, non-consolidated payments for excellence.
• A starting salary of £70k rising to £93k after five years.
• Additional activity and work taken out of hours could increase experienced consultants’ pay to £107k.
• Up to £6.9k to be made available for additional responsibilities and around £7.5k for performance related payments.
• The possibility of another £5-6k additional payment available for out of hours work generated by making savings elsewhere in the contract.
• The proposal is to make more funds available for out of hours work over time to reflect the shift to seven-day services.

The full NHS Employers evidence is available to download from the NHS Employers website and other stakeholders submitting evidence include the Department of Health, the British Medical Association, Health Education England, NHS Providers and NHS England.

Sharon Gregory May2015
For Croner