Commenting on NHS Employers and the Department for Health and Social Care’s latest proposal for the Local Clinical Excellence Awards scheme, Dr Vishal Sharma, BMA consultants committee chair, said:
"The BMA entered into negotiations with Government and NHS Employers to try and develop a new clinical excellence awards (CEA) scheme that was fairer, addressed the gender and ethnicity pay gap and appropriately motivated consultants to deliver excellence for their patients and the wider NHS. We are therefore extremely disappointed that due to an insistence from NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI) to alter how the scheme is funded, the net result is a scheme that is not only too complicated but one that will in some areas drive further unfairness.
"The new funding mechanisms will result in a postcode lottery whereby some trusts will have very little funding available to spend on new awards. These trusts will be the ones with a higher proportion of older, existing CEA holders and in these trusts, it will be the younger consultants, a greater proportion of whom are women, that will be denied the opportunity to access new awards. The BMA was determined to address inequity within the scheme and we did secure some improvements such as ensuring successful applicants who worked part time received a full award, widening the areas in which consultants could demonstrate excellence and allowing consultants to choose areas of excellence that fitted within their scope of practice.
"Unfortunately, however, the enforced changes to the funding mechanism coupled with a lack of assurance around the assessment process meant that the proposed scheme would not deliver our primary aim of addressing inequality. We have outlined our concerns in detail to NHS Employers and DHSC but to date they have been unwilling to listen.
"We'd really like to see a fair scheme which rewards excellence, but it must be transparent in both its structure and its application process. NHS employers and DHSC have indicated that they plan to impose their scheme on consultants from April. We urge them to reconsider and address our concerns and we remain willing to re-enter discussions to achieve this. Until this is done we believe the fairest solution is to extend the arrangements that operated during the pandemic and distribute this element of consultant pay via equal distribution."
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
- This press release responds to the joint statement issued by NHS England, the BMA and the HCSA today reporting that an agreement on a package of reform for local clinical excellence awards has not been reached.