National Health Service Recruitment – Consultants

Immediate Release – Thursday 18 December 2014

A freedom of information request by Mid Scotland and Fife Labour MSP, Dr Richard Simpson, to all health boards indicated that, far from consultant contracts being offered on a split of 7.5 to 2.5 sessions, which is the national contract, 60 per cent of all new consultant contracts in Scotland have been offered on a 9:1 basis.

British Medical Association (BMA) recommends 2.5 Supporting Professional Activities (SPA) time for consultant contracts which is incorporated into SAS doctors’ contracts to provide them with time to undertake a wide range of work outside of their Direct Clinical Care activities.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP asked a Parliamentary Question regarding Consultant Recruitment in the Chamber today. This was following a question asked by Joan McAlpine which was suggesting that increased private practice in England meant that fewer applications were being received in Scotland.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, Shona Robinson was unforthcoming; however she agreed to look into further measures to improve consultant recruitment.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:

“At the time when there are high levels of consultant vacancies across Scotland, the abuse of national consultant contracts is unacceptable. The Cabinet Secretary, Shona Robinson should act to instruct the SHD to review all recent consultant contracts following the information exposed by the Freedom of Information request.”

“I also believe that qualitative research into consultants appointed on less than 7.5:2.5 should be undertaken in order to allow recommended SPA time for consultant contracts.”

“The new consultant contracts offered on a 9:1 basis are simply unsustainable and untenable.”

Dr Nikki Thompson, Chair of the BMA’s Scottish Consultants Committee, said:

“Time for SPA activities is vital so that consultants are able to maintain and develop their own skills, train junior staff, and support and improve services and techniques which directly benefit patient care and safety. By maintaining appropriate SPA levels the BMA seeks to ensure that we have skilled and up to date doctors, now and in the future, and safe and sustainable services with the flexibility to respond to changing patient needs over time.”


Notes to Editor:

Please find below a link to the official report from the Scottish Parliament: