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.
The decision — which applies to higher and lower awards — comes despite a public consultation in which almost 90 per cent of respondents were in favour of allocating CEAs for both these years.
The BMA has long lobbied for the reinstatement of CEAs, which have not been awarded in Northern Ireland since 2010.
Northern Ireland consultants committee chair Anne Carson said: ‘We are very disappointed and angry at this decision.
'It will impact negatively on both the recruitment and retention of consultants in Northern Ireland.
'We have lobbied hard on this issue over the last five years, including taking the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to court over its refusal to award new CEAs.
'We have made clear to [the department] the strength of feeling from consultants and the damaging impact this will have on their morale.’
In 2013, the then health minister Edwin Poots announced that new CEAs would be reintroduced with a reduced number of recipients and rates frozen at 2010 levels.
However, despite applications having been made to these award rounds, the DHSSPS did not process them.
A public consultation was launched on whether these awards should be paid. The BMA responded, saying they should be reinstated immediately and paid for 2012-13 and 2013-14.
The consultation closed in February 2015 and in October Mr Hamilton announced his decision that no new CEAs would be made for the 2012-13 award round, and that an award round would not be held for the 2013-14 year.
Existing award holders will continue to be paid their awards and they will be reviewed every five years.
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