Consultant England

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Consultants - how contract negotiations affect you

Consultant writing notes 20682

Latest update - consultant contract (England) January 31 2019

Following the Government’s decision over summer 2018 to ignore DDRB recommendations and implement a derisory pay award, and their subsequent unsatisfactory offer of a multiple-year pay award of 2% a year over three years, negotiations over the consultant contract have stalled. We have emphasised to the Department of Health & Social Care that, while the BMA’s door remains open, until the Secretary of State makes a clear commitment to significant additional funding, there can be no possibility of further negotiation on a new contract.

We have now launched a campaign designed to raise awareness of consultants’ existing contractual rights and protections. Visit the Know Your Rights Consultants contract campaign. Every fortnight the campaign page will be updated to focus on a key theme and provide guidance and resources to help you make the most of the current contract.

Background on consultant contract negotiations

  • BMA Clinical Excellence Awards Agreement

  • Consultants contract negotiations

    What were we aiming to get from a new contract that was lacking in the 2003 one? What did the Government want?

    The Government wanted:

    1. Removal of Schedule 3, paragraph 6 of the 2003 contract – the right for consultants to decline weekend elective work
    2. Removal of automatic pay progression
    3. A lower starting salary and lower final salary
    4. Increased out of hours (OOH) work to meet seven day services for no additional money
    5. Extension of premium time: Mon to Sat, 7am to 10pm
    6. A new performance pay scheme

    We wanted:

    1. Pay better suited to a career average (CARE) pension scheme 
    2. Retention of plain time
    3. Retention of starting salary
    4. Enhanced safeguards and compensatory rest to improve work/life balance and combat tiredness
    5. Improved study leave provision
    6. The choice to remain on the 2003 contract if desired


    What are the likely benefits of the proposed 2018 contract?

    The new contract would have a two-point pay scale, under which a consultant would move from the starting salary to the top of the scale in five years. This would be beneficial under the career average (CARE) pension scheme, where reaching and maintaining a higher salary earlier is more efficient. There would also be a number of safeguards, including a maximum number of weekends a year, protections for evening work and contractual compensatory rest. The contract package as a whole has not been finalised by the Government and the finer details of the new contract have been subject to change while discussions were still ongoing. In light of the BMA’s refusal to negotiate further without commitment to significant new investment, it is unclear what approach the Government plans to take regarding contract reform.


    What were the agreed heads of terms for negotiating the new consultant contract?

    You can find the original heads of terms here.

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