In Wales, with the introduction of the amended contract in December 2003, the existing discretionary points and distinction awards were replaced by new commitment and clinical excellence awards schemes.
The new award schemes are transparent, fair, based on clear evidence, open and accessible to all consultants. They better reward those consultants who continue to contribute effectively to service delivery and patient care on a sustained basis, and those who contribute most to the NHS, recognising their contribution to innovation and modernising the service.
The award schemes support the practical application of skills and knowledge (including teaching and research) for the benefit of patients and are related to a satisfactory appraisal and job plan review. The awards are reviewed regularly, to ensure a fair distribution between academic and non-academic award holders and to recognise innovation and modernisation.
The scheme comprises a regular progression of commitment awards available to all consultants throughout their career, once they have reached the top of their incremental scale, who have demonstrated their commitment to the service by satisfactory job plan reviews or by the absence of unsatisfactory job plan reviews. In addition, a number of clinical excellence awards are available to those consultants who have made outstanding contributions to the development of the service and/or the greatest level of achievement in research and or teaching whether locally, nationally, UK-wide or internationally.
Transition to the new commitment and clinical excellence award schemes
Any consultant in receipt of discretionary points prior to the introduction of the amended contract on 1 December 2003 (the due date) had these automatically converted into the equivalent number of commitment awards from that date. Any such awards count towards the maximum number of eight such awards under the scheme.
Any consultant aged 57 or over at the due date (1 December 2003) automatically received their first new commitment award upon reaching the maximum of the consultant salary scale and at three-yearly intervals thereafter. This is subject to the consultant only being able to receive a maximum number of eight such awards, including any commitment awards arising from the conversion of discretionary points.
Any consultant aged between 51 and 56 at the due date (1 December 2003) automatically received their first commitment award one year after reaching the maximum of the consultant salary scale and at three-yearly intervals thereafter. This is subject to the consultant only being able to receive a maximum number of eight such awards, including any commitment awards arising from the conversion of discretionary points.
Any consultant aged between 43 and 50 at the due date (1 December 2003) automatically received their first commitment award two years after reaching the maximum of the consultant salary scale and at three-yearly intervals thereafter. Again this is subject to the consultant only being able to receive a maximum number of eight such awards, including any commitment awards arising from the conversion of discretionary points.
Basis of awards – commitment awards
All consultants will be eligible for a commitment award once they have completed three years’ service, after reaching the maximum point on the consultant pay scale. Then they will be eligible at three yearly intervals, after they received their previous commitment award, until they have achieved the eight commitment awards levels available under the scheme.
The appropriate commitment award will be paid automatically in the absence of an unsatisfactory annual job plan review over the required period and it is anticipated that the overwhelming majority of consultants will achieve commitment awards on a regular basis. The aim is to help consultants achieve satisfactory outcomes for the benefit of the service. Therefore, any potential obstacles to achieving satisfactory outcomes must be raised and discussed between the consultant and their employer as soon as these become apparent, and not be delayed until the next planned review. This is to enable any remedial action to be taken and to avoid an unsatisfactory job plan review wherever possible.
In the rare event of an unsatisfactory job plan review, the employer will give details of the reasons for such a result, in writing, record whatever remedial action is agreed, and give a defined timetable for its completion. If such agreement is not reached there will be recourse to the appeals process.
An interim job plan review will be arranged no longer than six months following the unsatisfactory job plan review. If the consultant has remedied the situation, a satisfactory job plan review will be recorded as usual. If the interim job plan review is also unsatisfactory, the consultant will receive a formal letter outlining the reasons for deferring their commitment award for the period of one year, this deferment will also be subject to a right of appeal as agreed. Deferment may continue in subsequent years if agreed corrective action has not been completed at the next scheduled job plan review.
Each level of commitment award is worth an amount per annum which is permanent and superannuable.