NHS Employers and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) have agreed a means by which consultants can carry out short-term, ad hoc or urgent activity in another organisation, without the need for an honorary contract of employment.
The Certificate of Fitness for Honorary Practice has been developed in response to concerns about the obstacles that make it impractical for consultants to carry out this type of work.
Current practice for the short-term visit of a consultant involves obtaining a full honorary contract and verifying the necessary employment checks, such as occupational health and Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks. This often takes several weeks, by which time the opportunity to visit is lost.
The certificate is not intended to remove the need for honorary contracts of engagement between organisations, but aims to support trusts by covering absences and responding to emergencies where there is no time to carry out employment checks. At the same time, it will allow consultants to provide training or maintain their own skills by visiting another hospital.
The certificate may be requested at appraisal by the consultant and contains all relevant information to show that a consultant is fit to carry out clinical work on a short-term basis. The certificate is then held on the consultant's file, to be produced when invited to assist in patient care at another organisation. A record of attendance would be completed by the host organisation, to record the honorary practice carried out.
What the certificate can and cannot be used for
The certificate can be used for:
- emergency or occasional treatment of a patient (e.g. to cover sick leave)
- promoting continuity of care of a patient
- allowing a consultant to provide short-term specialist training to other clinicians in the area of his/her expertise
- allowing a consultant to receive short-term training/continuing professional development to expand their skills in an area of practice that is new to them or in innovative techniques and technology.
The certificate is not
intended to be used for:
Download the Certificate of Fitness for Honorary Practice
Download the Record of Attendance for Honorary Practice
- providing evidence of personal identity
- ongoing honorary employment or research activity (an appropriate honorary contract should be used)
- making an offer for long-term paid or unpaid employment
- any other circumstance where an honorary contract is more appropriate
- sanctioning activity when the consultant is scheduled to be working for his/her substantive employer (except by agreement with the substantive employer)
- locum appointments
- remediation purposes.