Headlines: March 29th, 2004

Strategic Health Authorities across England are being urged to implement the new hospital consultant contract by the end of April. The encouragement comes in a letter to be received by SHA chief executives from the Department of Health and the Consultants’ Committee of the British Medical Association, which is upset over delays.Trusts that do not meet the proposed deadline will be able to make use of joint BMA/DoH implementation teams to help resolve local problems. The joint letter advises Trusts, consultants and clinical managers to work in partnership to complete the job planning process by the end of April.

Dr Paul Miller, Chairman of the Consultants’ Committee, said a number of NHS organisations were making good progress in agreeing new job plans but the BMA was disappointed that so many were dragging their heels. The BMA has said it will view any failure to achieve resolution very seriously and will be ready to intervene.