Consultant job planning

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9 / 3 / 2009

A guide to consultant job planning

The NHS Employers organisation and the British Medical Association (BMA) have worked together to produce A guide to consultant job planning. The challenges facing the NHS highlight the importance of consultant job planning as a means of organising resources effectively and efficiently.

This guide emphasises the need for consultants and managers to work closely together to meet their shared responsibility of providing the best possible patient care within the resources available to them. The consultant job plan, is a key mechanism through which this shared responsibility can be agreed, monitored and delivered.

This new guide supplements the material already available. It highlights the benefits of effective preparation for both managers and consultants and covers objective setting, information gathering, supporting resources which may be required and some of the contractual provisions relevant to component parts of the job plan.

The guidance doesn’t change any of the current features of the consultant contract or the terms and conditions, but does offer guidance so that the flexibilities contained within the contract are used  effectively.

Key principles to job planning

The guidance sets out some key principles which should characterise a collaborative approach to job planning. The principles are that job planning should be:

  • undertaken in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation
  • completed in good time
  • reflective of the professionalism of being a doctor
  • focused on measurable outcomes that benefit patients
  • consistent with the objectives of the NHS, the organisation, teams and individuals
  • transparent, fair and honest
  • flexible and responsive to changing service needs during each job plan year
  • fully agreed and not imposed
  • focused on enhancing outcomes for patients whilst maintaining service efficiency.

A consultant job plan assembled and agreed in line with these principles will help consultants and managers meet the challenge of  delivering high quality care within a testing financial environment during a period of significant organisational change.

We encourage NHS organisations to review how job planning can be used to drive improvements and quality of patient care. Some trusts are looking at new IT tools, some at annualisation, others at team or departmental job planning amongst other initiatives. All these have the potential to improve the process and should be explored, but the best way to ensure sound job planning is to focus on objectives.

Download A guide to consultant job planning (July 2011)

Job planning toolkit

This toolkit, issued in January 2005, aims to help those involved in consultant job planning to maximise the benefits to be gained and provoke thought and discussion at an organisational level.

The toolkit is split into a number of sections. These are set out under the following headings:

  • Job planning handbook designed to assist NHS organisations in the development of job planning systems for consultant medical and dental staff.
  • Training package designed to help clinical managers improve job planning by providing information on the process.
  • Evaluation framework designed to help organisations assess the impact of the job planning process.
  • Reference manual published for completeness. It highlights relevant guidance and contract documents.

Further information and guidance

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