BMA Q and A: what challenges consultants?
22 November 2012
BMA consultants committee chair Paul Flynn answers your questions
How are you planning to involve more consultants in the BMA consultants committee’s work?
One of my priorities as chair this year is to get out and meet consultants across the UK. I want to talk to people, get an understanding of what really concerns them, the issues most important to them, and where they want to see our efforts focused.
It’s also an opportunity for me to explain what we are doing on members’ behalf.
This year is going to be challenging: there really is a lot going on, and I think it’s important that I’m guided by the people I’m representing.
Initially, I, my deputies and members of our executive subcommittee will go to regional consultant committees. Hopefully, we can also attend some local negotiating and medical staffing committees. We want people at these meetings to be able to ask us any questions that they want: it really is a chance to talk about anything. If you’re not involved with any of our regional structures, now would be a good time to get involved.
I can always be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, so if anyone has any meetings they’d like me and the team to attend, or if you just want to tell me your thoughts, please get in touch.
So what are the main challenges for consultants this year?
Doctors as a group remain very angry at the changes being imposed on our pension scheme by the government, and the fact that the Public Service Pensions Bill allows the government to make wide-ranging retrospective changes to the scheme without sufficient parliamentary scrutiny is very worrying.
In addition to this, we’ve been seeing individual trusts attempt to erode TCS (terms and conditions of service) for many years, but the establishment of the South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium, which is looking directly at making savings by changing pay and TCS, has highlighted the threat of regional pay, which could spread to other areas fast.
The future of merit awards and pay remains uncertain. The government still hasn’t released the results of the Doctors and Dentists Review Body’s review into merit award schemes for consultants in the NHS; there will be significant implications for consultants when they do.
Meanwhile, NHS Employers has called for the current pay freeze on doctors’ pay to be extended, and the government has called for a cap on any increase.And, of course, revalidation will begin in December.
Where can consultants get more information on these issues?
There’s information about all of these topics in our latest newsletter. Visit bma.org.uk/consultants
If you want to find out a bit more about the committee, you could attend one of our meetings as a visitor. Email us at email@example.com for more information.