Medicopolitical Digest

Health minister fails to reassure over consultant expansionConsultants fear for their futureGovernment must heed inequalities in healthConsultants consider changes to C merit awardsBMA supports nurses' plea for national payTransitional local pay cannot apply to most consultantsMinisters refuse to meet clinical academic staff

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6980.673 (Published 11 March 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:673
  1. Linda Beecham

    Health minister fails to reassure over consultant expansion

    The minister for health, Mr Gerald Malone, told consultants last week that the government remained committed to consultant expansion, to a consultant based rather than consultant led NHS, and to the proposals in Achieving a Balance and in the Calman report on specialist training. He believed that there were sufficient levers in the system to ensure that the proposals were carried forward. But he failed to convince the Central Consultants and Specialists Committee that there would be adequate expansion or to allay the committee's concern at the expansion of non-consultant career grades. The chairman, Mr James Johnson, told him that there was “enormous concern” in the profession about this expansion and that if this was allowed to continue there would be a very different hospital service in the future and that junior doctors would be trained to be non-consultants. “This will fundamentally change the face of British medicine.” The chairman of the negotiating subcommittee, Dr Peter Hawker, referred to the growth in the number of people appointed to non-standard grades, often without approval. This was a quality issue. Trusts should be stopped from appointing such posts.

    Mr Johnson, who had raised the same issue at the meeting of the BMA council the day before (see below), told his committee that he would discuss the matter with the presidents of the royal colleges and suggest that they seek a meeting with the health secretary.

    PROFESSIONAL INPUT IS VITAL

    In his opening remarks the minister said that he believed that the new Advisory Group on Medical and Dental Education, Training, and Staffing would ensure that there was a sufficient number of trained doctors and that there was flexibility in the system. Each specialty would be reviewed regularly using a more flexible methodology. “The input of the profession is vital,” he said. The ultimate aim was to …

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