Hospital Dr News

Allow consultants to work for good of wider NHS

The royal colleges have welcomed the GMC’s and the government’s joint letter to all NHS employers urging them to allow doctors to participate in statutory and professional agencies.

The letter, from the chief medical officers of England and the devolved countries, the NHS medical director and chairman of the GMC, urges trust boards to “look favourably” on requests for absence to undertake national work.

It cites NICE, the Committee on Human Medicines, the GMC and the royal colleges as examples of organisations that rely on the involvement of senior members of the profession for their expertise and experience.

The letter says: “The part time work they undertake alongside their clinical duties contributes a great deal to the quality of patient care, medical education and the effective running of the health service.”

Such organisations have become increasingly concerned over their operational viability with NHS trusts trying to maximise the clinical productivity of their consultants locally.

The letter continues: “We understand that in the current climate there is considerable pressure on local resources and that you will need to take account of that and ensure that contractual commitments are applied appropriately.

“However, we hope you will regard such activity by your senior clinical staff as an investment in the system and a reflection of the high standards in your organisation. The experience gained by the individual will also often be of direct benefit to the unit in which they work.”

The Royal College of Surgeons welcomed the letter. It said it relied on members giving up their time voluntarily to help ensure the quality of training and spread high standards within the profession.

It said these activities included leading practical examinations of juniors, sharing their knowledge on courses, and establishing best practice standards or assessing the value of new techniques across different forms of surgery.

Professor Norman Williams, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “This letter is an important reminder of the ethos and benefits of the NHS and the role independent charities like the Royal College of Surgeons bring to helping the whole system maintain and improve our world class health system.

“Those trusts that are currently making it increasingly difficult for surgeons to participate and share their expertise at a national level should take heed.”

The BMA has also been lobbying for such work to be better recognised. Employers refusing to allow staff to work in the wider NHS were limiting the expertise available and increasing the burden on a smaller number of employers, a spokesman said.

Read the full letter.

Bookmark and Share

4 Responses to “Allow consultants to work for good of wider NHS”

  1. Bob Bury says:

    Well of course the government and colleges are saying this – please don’t think they are being altrusitic. They (HMG) have belatedly realised that if (when) they axe CEAs, a lot of doctors will be wondering just why they should spend hours of their own time on committees and doing college work when they could be at home with their families.

    They need to encourage trusts to give us time off to do these things, because once the carrot of a possible award has been withdrawn, we certainly won’t be doing it for free.

  2. Malcolm Morrison says:

    I am not convinced that doctors do such jobs in order to get a CEA, as Bob Bury seems to suggest; though there can be no doubt that such activity increases the chances of the individual getting one. I believe the majority of doctors who take on such roles do so in order to ‘put something back’ into medicine for the benfit of the future of the profession – and, hence, for the benefit of patient care, both now and in the future.

    A problem arises when such an individual gets asked to take on other roles – which means less time at the clinical ‘coal-face’. As Trusts are ‘paid by results’, the doctor’s absence produces a financial ‘defecit’!
    Retired Orthopod

  3. Dr Grumpy says:

    I think it is getting more difficult across the board. I do a couple of extra things for my college and also NICE. These are unpaid and although I have got a few CEA points this is not the reason why I do them. However I get a sense that as a member of these committee’s I am also being ‘screwed’. Gone is first class travel ( I don’t think it was worth it anyway). Second class tickets must be bought as cheap as possible. Mileage allowance for private cars is reduced. There is a cap on how much you can spend on a hotel room (have you tried to get a room in London for less than £110 recently). Other members of these committees (usually external or lay members) get an honorarium for attending. What next – pay your own way, bring your own sandwiches?
    I am not sure the great and the good really know how much many of us contribute to the wider NHS. I am more inclined to give up if the climate gets any worse. There are too many clouds on the horizon….
    Apologies for the negativity.

  4. Bob Bury says:

    Well it’s reassuring that Malcolm and Grumpy didn’t do it for the money. Neither did i, directly, because of course there was never any guarantee that an award would be forthcoming. However, when my wife wondered why I spent so many hours on editorial or college work, I was able to say, well, who knows……maybe one day. And I was lucky.

    However, even if no-one does this stuff for the money, I suspect that once the awards are abolished, people will indeed think more carefully about how they wish to spend their decreasing amounts of leisure time. And if HMG want the Trusts to pay them to do it (which seems to be the case), they will need to provide the resources.

Post a Comment

Enter this security code

Submit Comment for Moderation