Consultant's charter given unanimous backingBMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6995.1676d (Published 24 June 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1676
- Douglas Carnall,
- Linda Beecham,
- Jane Smith
The 1994 conference called for a charter for consultants and this year it was given unanimous backing. The charter defines five rights: the consultant must be allowed to practise and should encourage the practice of medicine to the highest clinical and ethical standards; the consultant has a duty to contribute to the wider provision of health care and the NHS; the role of the consultant as a senior professional within the health service must be acknowledged and respected bymanagement and patients; the consultant has a right to refuse to undertake duties which contradict professional ethical standards; and the consultant has the right to speak freely and publish books, articles, etc, without the interference of the employing authority.
Dr Joy Edelman, a consultant physician in London, who will take over the chair of the conference in 1996, with the current chairman, Mr Brian Hopkinson, a consultant surgeon in Nottingham
Introducing the document, Dr Peter Hawker, chairman of the Central Consultants and Specialists Committee's general purposes subcommittee emphasised the importance of the inclusion of the right to terms and conditions of service that reflected consultants' autonomy, seniority, and professional responsibility. Other clauses emphasise consultants' responsibilities beyond the trusts, such as service on professional bodies.
Dr Hawker recognised that it was not the final answer to consultants' problems, but “the start of a series of documents that will help local and regional colleagues take the issues forward.”