Valuing consultants - the consultant charter

This guide provides an overview of the standards you, as NHS consultants in England, should expect your employers to meet and help identify where they are falling short.

Location: England
Audience: Consultants
Updated: Thursday 30 June 2022
Career Progression Article Illustration

What you will learn from this guide

Recent times have led to extraordinary circumstances within the medical profession.

Now is the time to refocus and reinforce better working practices, to enable better care for your patients and a more manageable working life for you.

From this guide, you can expect to find:

  • An overview of the standards you can expect your employers to meet
  • Examples of good practice and how to reintroduce those ideals back into your working life
  • A framework to enable you to feel empowered in your professional life


Shanu Datta
This new charter seeks to highlight both the indispensable expertise that consultants bring, while also setting out a raft of expectations and set of standards designed to promote good practice in the workplace.
Shanu Datta, BMA consultants committee

Topics within this guide

Good practice in job planning

Job plans are part of your contract of employment. The process should be collaborative and must be mutually agreed, not imposed.

Effective medical appraisal

A medical appraisal is an annual meeting between a doctor and an appraiser. It is key to demonstrating your GMC fitness-to-practice.

Managing safe patterns of working and avoiding burnout

It is essential for patient safety and for doctors' wellbeing that they are able to rest appropriately. We provide comprehensive guidance on appropriate arrangements.

Clinical Excellence Awards

In the absence of a national agreement, how the 2022/23 round will be run locally will be determined by local negotiations at the JLNC.


Contact our BMA advisers

Are your employers not meeting the standards set out in this guide? We are here to offer support and guidance.

Get in touch now

Alternative working patterns

Less Than Full Time working, flexible working and shared parental leave are all examples of alternative working arrangements. A good employer should be creating a culture for consultants to explore these opportunities.

Retire and return - adapted working patterns for a late consultant career

A good employer will recognise the value of those consultants in the later stages of their career and should make concerted efforts to retain that experience.

Health and wellbeing

Employers have a duty of care to their staff and it has never been more important that they take steps to ensure that consultants’ health and wellbeing are protected.

Working with disability or long-term health condition

Doctors with a disability or long-term health condition make vital contributions to the health service and should be provided with all support necessary to ensure the longevity of their career.

Career breaks and sabbaticals

Discussions about career breaks or sabbaticals should form part of the annual job planning process and are something that a good employer will be open to and supportive of.

Consultants as clinical leaders

Valuing consultants as innovators and leaders; consultants should be integral to service development and key decision makers and should be empowered to drive change.

Consultants as educators and trainers

Employers should value the continuing education and training of its professional staff, as a crucial pillar to ensure the quality provision of care.

Workplace and facilities

The consultant contract recognises the importance of doctors having access to necessary resources and facilities in order to work effectively.


The guide for consultants

join illustration
Join the BMA

We're here to stand up for your rights, support you in the workplace and champion the medical profession. 

Join us