Opportunity for UK-wide awards fairness
Posted on 4 February 2013 by Sara Hedderwick
Like many of you I have been thinking about the implications of the Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration Body report over the past month. As a consultant from Northern Ireland, I see a chink of an opportunity for us to be rewarded like consultants elsewhere in the UK.
We have had no new awards, either national or local, since they were frozen (mid-application process) in 2010.
Before 2010 however, by the law of averages, a consultant in Northern Ireland — let’s call her Maeve — could expect to get any kind of award once in every 11 years. In England, a similar consultant, Lucy, would get one every 3 years. Maeve, from NI would not be allowed to apply for a national award until she had collected at least 4 local awards. And to top it off, newly appointed Maeve from NI had to wait until she had been in her post for at least 3 years before she could even start to be considered for a local award.
So, by my reckoning, I will have been working as a consultant for 47 years before I can first apply for a national award. Even with my newly acquired opportunity to work longer given to me by the pension changes, a national award for me, was always a pipe dream.
The way clinical excellence awards are awarded, and to whom, causes more friction among consultants I chat to than almost any other subject. We all have a particular bugbear with the issue — mine includes the lack of women sitting on the committees that give them out.
So, my personal plea about CEAs is ‘Have them, or don’t have them, but don’t pretend to have them. And give them out fairly to consultants who are excellent’.
Sara Hedderwick is a Belfast consultant in infectious diseases and joint deputy chair of the BMA consultants committee
clinical excellence awards
review body on doctors' and dentists' remuneration