Many higher education institutions are facing cuts in their income and many have reviews currently under way. At the same time, recent changes to student financial support may encourage universities to refocus effort on teaching while the Research Excellence Framework 2014 led universities to reflect on the research they undertake and the output of those they employ as researchers.
The BMA, through its Medical Academic Staff Committee (MASC) and trained employment experts will do everything possible to support clinical academics during this potentially difficult time.
You should monitor the situation locally, ensure that academics are properly represented on the relevant local negotiating committees and keep in contact with the other trades unions at your institution.
What you should do now
To protect yourself, you must be able to demonstrate the work that you undertake for both the NHS and the academic sector, and this is best done through an effective job planning process.
Read our job planning guidance
You should also make sure that you have a copy of your contract of employment.
You should establish and keep full records of the income you have generated for your Higher Education Institution.
You should also ensure that your Higher Education Institution takes proper account of your NHS clinical activity and, where possible, ensure that the NHS reimburses your institution for such activity. In addition you should ensure that the institution is abiding by the Follett Review Principles. This means that all the activities of a clinical academic should be reviewed together, not separately.
You should ensure that any research that you are carrying out has also been registered with the NHS organisation where you work in accordance with their local procedures.
What you should do if you have been identified as being ’at risk’ of redundancy
The BMA has issued advice to doctors who have been identified as being ’at risk’ of redundancy. As such matters are also a collective issue they are likely to be managed on both a collective and an individual level.
As an individual
If you have been written to by your employer the first step is to check that the information they are basing their selection criteria on is correct. If not, you need to ensure that the necessary information is included and or corrected. You should also check that your employer has abided by the Follett Review Principles in their assessment of your work.
You also need to respond to your employer stating a business case as to why you should not be identified as being at risk. A useful format would be to respond using the identified criteria for redundancy.
If you are a BMA member and you would like us to check your response please write to an adviser at http://bma.org.uk/support or call 0300 123 1233 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 6pm).
Once details of your call have been taken, your case is likely to be referred to an adviser in the local BMA Centre. An adviser would contact you to request a copy of your proposed draft response and also a copy of your contract or honorary contract, job plan and any other documents which you believe will be useful.
The support that can be provided to members individually includes checking the proposed response and providing representation at the consultation meetings with the member and HR. This support would be ongoing throughout the redundancy process.
On a collective level
The BMA industrial relations officer (IRO) responsible for the institution will contact the other unions involved, such as UCU (University and College Union) and the British Dental Association to assure them that we wish to work with them on the issue and to offer to help in every way possible. We would also seek to arrange a meeting of all the doctors affected by the proposals.
Our Medical Academic Staff Committee would be informed of the situation by the IRO and will help in any way it can, including by sending a representative to the meeting.
We recognise that the threat of redundancy can cause great anxiety as it creates uncertainty in your working life and this can affect your personal life. The BMA provides a 24 hour stress counselling line which is free and available to you and your family and can be contacted on 08459 200169.
Getting pensions advice
As part of your membership benefit you can get pensions advice from the BMA pensions team on 020 7383 6166 or email the pensions department. However, we are unable to provide financial advice. If you require financial advice you can get in touch with BMA finance and insurance. It's a member only benefit that offers a comprehensive range of tailored financial products and services.