Editorials

Decision time on consultants' contract

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7367.729 (Published 05 October 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:729

New contract is crucial to meeting NHS targets

  1. Diane Gray, visiting fellow ([email protected])
  1. Health Policy, King's Fund, London W1G 0AN

    In 1999, the UK government promised a “consultant delivered” NHS, relying on a new contract for consultants to increase commitment to the NHS.1 This week ballot papers have been issued to consultants and junior doctors on the proposed new contract, ending months of discussion, road shows, questions, and explanations. Now it's decision time.

    The new contract represents a notable departure from the current one.2 The linchpin to it is the job plan agreed between individual consultants and trust managers, which will describe personal goals for annual review and explicitly timetable a consultant's working week. Potential working hours will be extended to three sessions of four hours each per weekday and one on each weekend morning, with consultants expected to work 10 sessions (40 hours) each week and up to 12 if they wish. On-call duties and extra activities such as clinical governance can be negotiated locally to fill some sessions. Consultants wishing to practise privately must offer to work the first (the first two for new consultants) of their potential private sessions in …

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