Consultant award schemes and clinical excellence awards (CEA)

Information on National CEAs/CIAs and discretionary points, including everything you need for application, what you need to demonstrate, award values and details of the award schemes in the devolved nations.

Location: UK
Audience: Consultants GPs Medical academics
Updated: Tuesday 12 April 2022
Wallet and notes illustration
Important changes to NCEAs

There have been important changes to the National Clinical Excellence Award scheme (NCEAs) which will now be known as the National Clinical Impact Award scheme (NCIAs). These changes were introduced unilaterally in spite of the BMA's significant concerns. Read more about our concerns.

​The National Clinical Impact Award (NCIA) scheme in England and Wales - formerly the National Clinical Excellence Awards (NCEA) scheme - aims to reward the consultants who contribute most to the delivery of safe and high-quality care and the improvement of NHS services. This includes consultants and senior academic GPs who do so through their contribution to academic medicine.

In Wales, consultants can also receive commitment awards. In Scotland, consultants can apply for discretionary points. In Northern Ireland, there has been no award scheme run for several years. 


Local Clinical Excellence Awards (LCEAs) in England 2022/23

The BMA have been in consultation with HSCA, NHSEI, DHSC and NHS Employers to attempt to develop a new local awards scheme which is fairer. Unfortunately, the BMA were not able to agree to the final proposal due to a number of concerns with the proposals. Read more about these concerns in detail on our LCEA negotiations page.

The specifics of how the scheme operates will remain subject to local negotiation.

We remain willing to engage with DHSC and NHS Employers to develop a new national scheme that is fair and believe that until this happens, the fairest method is to continue to the arrangements that operated during the pandemic and equally distribute LCEA funding to consultants.


LCEAs values

The unit value of a new LCEA (i.e. one granted after 1 April 2018) is £3092. This unit is used to determine the total level of funding that a Trust must provide in each year. Awards granted do not necessarily need to be determined by this unit value.


Level Existing LCEAs (those granted prior to 1 April 2018) £ National CEAs awarded by ACCEA £
1 3,016
2 6,032
3 9,048
4 12,064
5 15,080
6 18,096
7 24,128
8 30,160
9* or bronze 36,192 36,192
10 or silver 47,582
11 or gold 59,477
12 or platinum 77,320

* A local level 9 can be awarded national which is the same as a bronze level award

National Clinical Impact Awards (NCIAs) 2022

Please note

While the BMA remains a National Nominating Organisation, we have significant concerns about the new NCIA process. Please make sure you have read and considered our concerns before asking for support.

The 2022 round of the national Clinical Impact Awards will open for applications on Wednesday 27 April.

As a National Nominating Organisation the BMA offers support and citations for National Clinical Impact Award applications. Eligible consultants and academic GPs in England and Wales seeking BMA support must email their completed ACCIA form and a short statement (maximum 250 words) on the work they have done for the BMA to [email protected] by Wednesday 18 May 2022.

The BMA CIA group will consider applications and will conduct a scoring, ranking and nomination process in accordance with NCIA guidance and on the applicant’s contribution to the BMA. The group will look for notable applications which focus on the wider impact of an applicant's work to the NHS, and not just their contribution to the BMA.

We are only permitted to support a limited number of applications and therefore only applications which score the most highly in both areas will be supported. Therefore, please ensure that all parts of the application form are complete.

This year we are only able to consider applications for supporting citations. There will be no process for offering feedback on the applications. Once you have submitted an application to us for consideration, we will notify you on next steps.

Further information on applying for a CIA is available on the ACCIA website, including the word version of the application form which can be started now in advance of the award round opening. We advise that applicants read all supporting documents, including guidance for national nominating organisations, employers, and assessors to understand how best to present their application.

The deadline for submitting CIA applications to ACCIA is Wednesday 22 June 2022. Candidates are responsible for submitting their online CIA application as per the instructions on the ACCIA website.


NCIAs values (per year for 5 years)

Award level England £ Wales £
National 0 10,000
National 1 20,000 20,000
National 2 30,000 30,000
National 3 40,000 40,000



What to demonstrate

National CEAs/CIAs are awarded to consultants who work in England or Wales, and who:

  • demonstrate sustained commitment to patient care and wellbeing, or improving public health
  • maintain high standards of technical and clinical aspects of service while providing patient-focused care
  • in their day-to-day practice, demonstrate a commitment to NHS values and goals by participating actively in job planning, observing the private practice code of conduct and achieving agreed service objectives
  • through active participation in clinical governance, contribute to continuous improvement in service organisation and delivery
  • embrace the principles of evidence-based practice
  • contribute to our knowledge base through research and participate actively in research governance
  • are recognised as excellent teachers, trainers or managers
  • contribute to policy-making and planning in health and healthcare; or
  • make an outstanding contribution to professional leadership.


Award schemes in the devolved nations

CEAs in Northern Ireland

Consultants in Northern Ireland have been denied new CEAs since 2013.

Distinction awards in Scotland

The distinction awards budget in Scotland has been frozen since 2010, with no new awards and no progression through the scheme. The Scottish Advisory Committee on Distinction Awards undertakes five-yearly reviews of distinction awards for those who already hold them.

Discretionary points in Scotland

There is no nationally agreed application process for discretionary points, and arrangements vary between employers. Most employers have adopted a process following agreement with the local negotiating committee.

All consultants who have reached point five of the pay scale are eligible for consideration. Distinction award holders are ineligible. Consultants granted discretionary points are not normally considered again for two years, although this may vary.. 

Commitment awards in Wales

  • Commitment awards are available to all consultants after three years’ service at the top of the consultant pay scale, who demonstrate their commitment through satisfactory job plan reviews. 
  • They are then eligible at three-yearly intervals, until they have achieved eight award levels. Each level is worth an amount annually which is permanent and superannuable.
  • The award is paid automatically in the absence of an unsatisfactory job plan review, so most consultants should receive commitment awards regularly. 

In the rare event of an unsatisfactory job plan review, the employer will:

  • give details of the reasons, in writing
  • record the agreed remedial action
  • give a defined timetable for its completion.

If the consultant doesn’t agree, they can appeal.

An interim job plan review will be arranged no more than six months later. If the situation has been remedied, a satisfactory job plan review will be recorded as usual. If the interim review is also unsatisfactory, the consultant will receive a formal letter outlining the reasons for deferring their commitment award for one year. This deferment is also subject to a right of appeal.


receipts illustration
Make the most of your membership

Find the most popular BMA benefits that other members are using right now. From calculators to the BMJ online, we have a range of tools to help you professionally and personally. 

Member benefits