Consultant Pay

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Merit awards for NHS consultants

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The Clinical Excellence Awards (CEA) scheme is intended to recognise and reward those consultants who contribute most towards the delivery of safe and high quality care to patients and to the continuous improvement of NHS services including those who do so through their contribution to academic medicine.

In particular, awards are made to consultants who: 

  • demonstrate sustained commitment to patient care and wellbeing or improving public health 
  • sustain high standards of both technical and clinical aspects of service while providing patient-focused care 
  • in their day-to-day practice demonstrate a sustained commitment to the values and goals of the NHS by participating actively in annual job planning, observing the private practice code of conduct and showing a commitment to achieving agreed service objectives 
  • through active participation in clinical governance contribute to continuous improvement in service organisation and delivery 
  • embrace the principles of evidence-based practice 
  • contribute to knowledge base through research and participate actively in research governance 
  • are recognised as excellent teachers and or trainers and or managers 
  • contribute to policy-making and planning in health and healthcare 
  • make an outstanding contribution to professional leadership.
  • Value of awards

    Awards can be made for both local and national contributions to the NHS.  Employer-Based Awards Committees (EBAC) assess applications for the employer based awards (levels 1-9). Higher value national awards (9-12) are decided by the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards (ACCEA) and its subcommittees. A level 9 award may be awarded by either the EBAC or the ACCEA, depending on the type of achievement being recognised.

    If you are applying for a national award you should consider carefully whether to submit the same form both locally and nationally. Sometimes forms that you have written in application for national recognition may not reflect appropriate local achievements and it can be difficult to comply appropriately with the rules excluding evidence that has been submitted for an earlier award.

    When considering a national application, remember that although the national and local elements exist to recognise excellence, the national process operates to significantly different timescales and rules than does the local process.

    Consultants with an existing distinction award or discretionary points keep them, subject to existing review provisions, and are eligible to apply for awards under the new scheme in the normal way. Awards are also pensionable. The value of distinction awards and discretionary points will continue to be uprated in line with the recommendations of the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body.

    If a CEA is made, that will subsume the value of any discretionary points or distinction awards already held by the consultant.

    The application process normally operates towards the end of the year and is completed before April of the next year, the month in which payment of awards starts.

    Further information about the process can be found on the gov.uk website.

     

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  • CEA pay scales

     

     Awarded by local committees
    £

    Awarded by Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards (ACCEA) £

    Level 1 

    2,957 

     
    Level 2 

    5,914

     
    Level 3

    8,871

     
    Level 4 

    11,828 

     
    Level 5 

    14,785

     
    Level 6 

    17,742

     

    Level 7 

    23,656

     
    Level 8 

    29,570 

     
    Bronze or Level 9 

    35,484 

    35,484

    Silver or Level 10   

    46,644

    Gold or Level 11   

    58,305

    Platinum or Level 12  

    75,796

  • CEAs in Northern Ireland

    Consultants in Northern Ireland have been denied new CEAs (clinical excellence awards) in a move that the BMA says will further damage staff morale.

    Health minister Simon Hamilton said no new CEAs would be made for the 2012-13 round, and that there would be no applications taken for 2013-14.

    Read the news story - Consultants denied clinical excellence awards

    Check the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for more detailed guidance on CEAs

  • Distinction awards in Scotland

    The distinction awards process in Scotland has been frozen since 2010.  This freeze was initially imposed as an interim measure pending the publication of the DDRB report into award schemes.  There has been no increase in the value of awards, no new awards and no progression through the award scheme.  The Scottish Consultants Committee has continued to call upon the Scottish Government to reinstate higher awards in Scotland as a priority, until an appropriate Scottish way forward has been agreed.

    The Scottish Advisory Committee on Distinction Awards (SACDA) will undertake the five-yearly  review of awards as normal in 2016-17.

    Further information can be found on the SACDA website
      

    Discretionary points

    All consultants who have reached point five of the pay point scale are eligible for consideration. Distinction award holders are ineligible. Consultants granted discretionary points are not normally considered again for two years, although employers and the profession locally may vary this provision.

    There is no nationally agreed procedure for determining how applications for discretionary points should be made and arrangements may vary from employer to employer. Most employers have adopted a procedure following agreement with the LNC.

    SEHD Letter to chief executives regarding changes to the discretionary points system, 12 January 2000 (PDF)
    NHS Circular PCS (DD) 1995/6 Consultants’ Discretionary Points  (PDF on SEHD website)

    The Cabinet Secretary has decided that the current arrangements for discretionary points will continue and that they should be paid in 2016-17 for work done in 2015-16.  Boards have therefore been asked to put in place the necessary arrangements to enable these payments to be made.

  • Commitment awards in Wales

    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.