MPs accuse government of “dreadful” return on public money spent on new consultants’ contract

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 20 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1815
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

Consultants have received significant pay rises since their contracts were renegotiated but are being far less productive, MPs have claimed.

The parliamentary public accounts committee tackled Department of Health officials over the matter during an evidence session on 18 March for an inquiry that was sparked by the report published earlier this month by the National Audit Office (NAO) on managing NHS hospital consultants.1

The health department, however, denied this view, saying services had improved and were proving to be better value for money overall.

The new contract for hospital consultants, introduced in October 2003, was designed to give a career structure and pay package to reward consultants who made the biggest contribution to the NHS.

The committee’s chair, Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking, said: “The introduction of the new consultants’ contract cost the taxpayer a lot of money and benefited consultants enormously—a 24% to 28% increase in their potential rate of pay—yet …

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