Consultant England

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Consultants - how contract negotiations affect you

Consultant writing notes 20682

Latest update - consultant contract (England) March 2018

As many of you will know, the consultant contract negotiating process has been delayed. Implementation of the new contract is now expected in Autumn 2018 at the earliest.

However, the BMA, Department of Health and NHS Employers have made an agreement on the future of the local Clinical Excellence Awards in England. While negotiations on a long-term replacement for the scheme continue, this agreement will provide clarity for consultants and employers. Further guidance will be published in the coming weeks

Negotiations for a new consultant contract are continuing, with a view to concluding by the summer of 2018. Consultants and employers will be consulted on any proposals in due course.


Background on consultant contract negotiations

  • BMA Clinical Excellence Awards Agreement

  • Consultants contract negotiations

    Has the 2018 contract now been agreed?

    No, at the time of publishing (12 May 2017) the details of the new contract have not yet been finalised. Our talks commenced in September 2013 and discussions are still ongoing.


    How have the negotiations gone?

    These negotiations were demanded by the government rather than being sought by either the BMA or consultants. We have listened to our members' priorities and have tried to secure these in negotiations. The process has been slow and the talks have taken longer than we anticipated but progress has been made.


    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 s3p6 - right to decline weekend elective work
    2. removal of automatic pay progression
    3. lower starting salary and lower final salary
    4. increased out of hours (OOH) work to meet seven day services - no new money
    5. extended premium time: Mon to Sat, 7am to 10pm
    6. new performance pay scheme.

    We wanted:

    1. pay more suitable to CARE
    2. retention of plain time
    3. retain starting salary
    4. safeguards and compensatory rest
    5. better 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 six 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 offer has not yet been finalised and the finer details of the new contract are subject to change while discussions are still ongoing.


    Would I be able to stay on the 2003 contract? Remind me of the details.

    Yes, the Department of Health (DoH) and NHS England (NHSE) have agreed to this proposal in principle. You can read the terms and conditions of the 2003 contract, which would not be subject to significant change.


    Will plain/premium time be altered?

    No, the definition of plain time will remain Monday – Friday, 7am – 7pm. Department of Health and NHS Employers have deferred negotiating any changes to unsocial hours as they have serious concerns about their lack of data, which would be needed to model the costs of such changes.


    What finances will be been agreed?

    The finances have not been agreed so it would be unwise to go into detail. 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 or six years. This would be beneficial under the Career Average (CARE) pension scheme. The starting salary would be no lower than it is currently, with the second pay point reaching as high a level as possible by the end of transition.


    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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