Commenting on a BBC investigation into consultant overtime payments which shows that growing pressures are leading UK hospitals to increasingly rely on premium overtime pay to get consultants to do extra work, Dr Keith Brent, BMA consultants committee chair, said:
“What these figures lay bare is the extent of consultant shortages in many areas. The fact is there simply aren’t enough consultants to meet the level of demand on services. Consultants are routinely working 4-6 hours of overtime on standard rates, as well as several unpaid hours each week. The payments we are seeing here is for even more work on top of that.
“It is important to point out that large payments only happen in a very small number of cases, usually where hospitals are struggling to meet Government targets in an understaffed and pressurised environment. However, trusts paying the higher individual figures should consider why such large numbers are being paid to one person and whether that money could be better spent on hiring more staff, for example.
“In the short term, hospitals should reduce the reliance on overtime by recruiting the number of staff required to do the job. But what we urgently need to see is a long term strategy for the NHS that addresses the fundamental workforce, workload and funding challenges that are overwhelming our health service. We are keen to work with the Government to address these issues.”
Notes to editors
1. The British Medical Association (BMA) is the voice of doctors and medical students in the UK. It is an apolitical professional association and independent trade union, representing doctors and medical students from all branches of medicine across the UK and supporting them to deliver the highest standards of care.