Medicopolitical Digest

Consultants launch blueprint for the futureBMA wants higher loans for medical studentsNHS chief executives receive 7.6% average pay riseOsteopaths' statutory councilGMSC reviews dispensing payTalks held on confidentialityCorrection

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7027.382 (Published 10 February 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:382
  1. Linda Beecham

    Consultants launch blueprint for the future

    Leaders of Britain's consultants have launched their blueprint for the future role of consultants in the NHS. Towards Tomorrow, which was approved by the Central Consultants and Specialists Committee in December (6 January, p 59), sets out the unprecedented changes that have taken place in the past few years, proposals for the future, and the prerequisites that will be necessary for any changes.

    Increased management responsibilities, the internal market, increases in emergency admissions, and the reduction in junior doctors' hours were all cited last week by the CCSC chairman, Mr James Johnson, as adding to consultants' workload and making inroads into their quality of life.

    Consultants, he said, wanted to get back to their prime role of looking after patients and Towards Tomorrow makes several recommendations on how this can be achieved. Consultants should be allowed to delegate some of their duties to medically or non-medically qualified staff but there would need to be a national agreement on the principles under which tasks could be delegated. There was, for example, scope for nurses to play a greater role in preoperation screening and to act as first assistants in theatre. Consultants would have to explain to patients why other health care professionals were more suitable for such work.

    The CCSC wants a greater emphasis on team working. It believes that the consultant's role would be enhanced and workload lessened by the formal introduction of consultant only teams and the report sets out alternative models. There could be cross specialty cooperation in units between consultants not normally associated with one another in …

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