Hospital Dr News

New certificate facilitates short-term placements

A new scheme has been launched to enable consultants to carry out short-term, ad hoc or urgent activity in another organisation without the need for an honorary contract of employment.

The Certificate of Fitness for Honorary Practice has been devised in response to concerns about the obstacles that make it impractical for consultants to carry out this type of work.

Current practice for the short-term visit of a consultant to another organisation involves obtaining a full honorary contract and verifying the necessary employment checks, such as occupational health and Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) investigations. This often takes several weeks, by which time the opportunity to visit is lost.

The new system is not intended to remove the need for honorary contracts of engagement between organisations but aims to enable consultants to cover absences and respond to emergencies where there is no time to carry out employment checks. It will also allow consultants to provide training or maintain their own skills by visiting another hospital or university.

The certificate, which has been developed jointly by NHS Employers and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC), may be requested at appraisal by the consultant and contains all relevant information to show that a consultant is fit to carry out clinical work on a short-term basis. It will then be held on the consultant’s file, to be produced when invited to assist in patient care at another organisation. A record of attendance would be completed by the host organisation to record the honorary practice carried out.

Professor Terence Stephenson, AMRC chairman, said: “The certificate will make it quicker and simpler for doctors to work temporarily at another trust, which will benefit patient care and treatment as well as doctors’ skills. Too many times opportunities have been missed by the extended time it takes to obtain an honorary contract. It is essential that we make it easier for doctors to support the NHS as a whole by being able to cover absences and emergencies as well as improving their own training and skills in other trusts.”

Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said: “Adaptability is essential in modern healthcare and I hope this is just one of many changes that see doctors working more flexibly right across the NHS.”

Su-Anna Boddy, consultant paediatric urologist, Royal College of Surgeons England, said: “This certificate provides excellent opportunities for improved patient care by allowing clinicians to move between trusts much more easily than is currently the case. In particular, allowing them to work in other hospitals with significantly reduced paperwork will help doctors to share expertise and facilitate better working across clinical networks.”

The certificate can be used for:

– emergency or occasional treatment of a patient (e.g. to cover sick leave)

– promoting continuity of care of a patient

– allowing a consultant to provide short-term specialist training to other clinicians in the area of his/her expertise

– allowing a consultant to receive short-term training/continuing professional development  to expand their skills in an area of practice that is new to them or in innovative techniques and technology.

The certificate is not intended to be used for:

– providing evidence of personal identity

– ongoing honorary employment or research activity (an appropriate honorary contract should be used)

– making an offer for long-term paid or unpaid employment

– any other circumstance where an honorary contract is more appropriate

– sanctioning activity when the consultant is scheduled to be working for his/her substantive employer (except by agreement with the substantive employer)

– locum appointments

– remediation purposes.

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One Response to “New certificate facilitates short-term placements”

  1. Bob Bury says:

    It will certainly make it easier for consultants to flit between the myriad private providers of health care who will be picking the bones of the NHS, and will consequently reduce the paperwork for Dave’s mates when they are filing the cracks in their hastily patched together back-of-a-lorry schemes.

    Cynical? Moi?

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