Contract Covering NHS consultants Likely to be Renegotiated

NHS-logoA new framework has stated that the contract covering NHS consultants in Northern Ireland could be discussed again to ensure 24X7 quality care. The draft heads of terms for a possible fresh agreement has been published by The British Medical Association and NHS Employers yesterday.

Concerns have been raised over consultants failing to provide much needed care, especially at night and weekends. MPs said earlier this month that failings are the result of inability to manage senior doctors. Westminster's Public Accounts Committee warned this after it sought appalling results from a study conducted on impact of a 2003 contract.

According to the study, the contracts allowed doctors to not work in evening shifts and at weekends. Besides, it increased the cost by prompting trusts to pay up to £200 an hour for services provided by locums. The reliance increased on locums, resulting in extra cost of overtime payments.

The draft published yesterday would cover a possible renegotiation for consultants in England and Northern Ireland.

Dr. Paul Flynn is chair of the BMA's UK consultants' committee. He said, "Never has it been more important that consultants are empowered to drive forward quality in the NHS". It will be considered how changes in consultant contract can help this, he said.