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Productivity drops despite consultant wage hike

Productivity drops despite consultant wage hike


Increased pay for hospital consultants has failed to increase productivity in hospitals, according to the Public Accounts Committee.

A consultants contract which increased pay by between 24% and 28% failed to improve productivity, the committee said.

According to committee chair Margaret Hodge the improvements achieved were “absurdly unambitious”.

A report published by the committee today shows nearly half of trusts do not assess whether consultants have met the objectives in their job plans.

Hodge said: “A proper culture of performance management for consultants and other NHS staff must be implemented if we are to avoid incidents of poor performance.

“Despite the increased pay, there is still a shortage of consultants in some parts of the country, in hospitals in deprived areas and in specialities such as geriatric medicine. This makes some trusts reliant on locum consultants, who provide less continuity of care for patients as well as being more expensive for the NHS.”

According to the British Medical Association (BMA) Public Accounts Committee is using productivity statistics to “attack the terms and conditions of hard-working doctors”.

Dr Paul Flynn, chairman of the BMA’s consultant committee said: “These statistics take little account of the quality of patient care or of changing working patterns elsewhere in the hospital. They are simply a crude measure of the number of patient episodes involving a consultant.”

Pointing out the Public Accounts Committee’s admission that the information on which the findings were based are “inadequate”, Dr Flynn believes findings to be “unhelpful”.

He said: “The perversity of using these statistics to measure the value of consultants is that we are judged to be less productive if we spend more time with our patients.”

NHS Employers said the report raises important issues which are of “increasing concern”.

Gill Bellord, director of employment relations at the organisation said: “It's ten years since this contract was introduced and we have begun to talk to the British Medical Association about changes needed to support the employment of consultants going forward.”


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