Doctors’ bonus scheme to be reviewed

Employers’ groups and unions have cautiously welcomed a review of an NHS scheme that could see the bonuses of top doctors slashed.

Payouts of up to £76,000 are awarded to hospital consultants who are deemed to have performed over and above the usual standard expected of their NHS role as part of the consultant pay rewards scheme.

Last year the NHS spent more than £200 million on the awards, which are paid out on top of consultant salaries, but health secretary Andrew Lansley today announced that the clinical excellence and distinction awards scheme would be reviewed by the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB).

The scheme was first introduced in 1948 but is being reviewed in order to “bring the awards scheme up to date and in line with other public sector pay schemes”.

Bill McMillan, head of medical pay and workforce for NHS Employers, said: “We will be consulting NHS organisations about the fairness, efficacy, and affordability of the current arrangements and will submit our evidence to the DDRB in due course.

“The question is very much alive regarding whether or not a consistent scheme can be devised that provides employers with the flexibility to reward consultants in a way that is integrated into local systems and needs.”

Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association’s Consultants Committee said the BMA would “engage” in the review. “It is worth noting that clinical excellence award schemes have already been subject to review in recent years, with the conclusion that they are beneficial to the NHS,” he said. “The innovative practices and research activity that they may encourage not only benefit patients but also frequently save the NHS money and bring benefits to the economy.”

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “We want to continue to reward and recognise those individuals who give outstanding patient care and go beyond the call of duty, but we must ensure that the system is effective and affordable.

“The NHS must recognise its responsibilities in the current financial climate as the largest public service in the country, and this review will ensure that clinical excellence and distinction awards are in line with other public sector pay and incentive schemes.”

Comments are closed.