Headlines: February 22nd, 2001

There’s been a mixed welcome to proposals by the Government for the modernisation of the contracts of NHS consultants.Modernisation of the ways of working of this key group are seen as vital to the success of the NHS Plan, though have been the subject of tense discussion so far between the Department of Health and the BMA.

Earlier this week the BMA was publicly bemoaning the lack of coherent discussion on the topic, and has now roundly condemned the Government’s proposals.

But the NHS Confederation, which speaks for NHS employing organisations across the UK, has called the new ideas a much-needed new approach.

They say these go a long way towards making consultants more accountable, and break down the current rigid career structure. They link reward to achievement of excellence, and allow for local flexibility of arrangements.

The BMA has condemned some of the proposals – such as insisting that newly qualified NHS-trained consultants not be allowed to work outside the service – as probably illegal.

It says that the plans, especially for performance-related pay, are broadly unacceptable, but says that they do represent a concrete start to the negotiating process.

Links: www.bma.org.uk www.nhsconfed.net