NHS Employers and the BMA have agreed changes to the local Clinical Excellence Award (CEA) scheme, endorsed by the Department of Health and Social Care.
The local CEA agreement provides stability and clarity for consultants and employers on awards for quality and excellence, acknowledging exceptional personal contributions.
National terms and conditions of service will be amended to ensure all parties understand the scheme’s contractual status.
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said:
“This clarifies the immediate future of local clinical excellence awards for consultants and prepares the ground for further negotiations on wider consultant contract reform
and a fully revised clinical excellence awards scheme.
“It is right that Consultant colleagues are properly recognised for the outstanding contributions they make in leading and developing services, teaching, training, research and innovation.
“This is an important step towards the longer-term aim of establishing a local awards scheme more closely aligned with local service priorities.
“Although negotiations have been underway for some time, they have been undertaken in good spirit and within a positive environment which is encouraging for the discussions on wider contractual reform which we will continue to lead.”
Dr Robert Harwood, acting BMA consultants committee chair, said:
“I am pleased that the BMA, Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Employers have reached an agreed settlement on a new local Clinical Excellence Award scheme which will provide stability and clarity for consultants and employers.
“At this point in time, the BMA has secured the necessary funding to ensure that annual award rounds continue into the future, and made it a requirement that employers are contractually obliged to run them. Securing protection for the future of the local CEA scheme is a significant achievement, given some employers have not been running local award schemes in recent years and investment has been declining.
“We think this is good news for consultants. Existing award holders will keep their awards, which will remain pensionable and consolidated. From April 2018, new awards will be non-pensionable and non-consolidated but the total number of awards available each year will increase, making it more likely that consultants who demonstrate excellence will be rewarded.
"CEAs are designed to recognise the exceptional contribution of doctors who find new and innovative ways of improving the quality and delivery of care, benefitting patients and saving the NHS money in the long run.
"We believe that this agreement represents a good deal for consultants and ensures patient care will continue to be improved through the innovation and improvements which CEAs recognise and reward.”