The King's Fund statement in response to Public Accounts Committee report on NHS Consultant Contract

Commenting in response to the Public Accounts Committee's report on the NHS consultant contract, King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:

'The government promised that the new contract for consultants would bring benefits to patients, but so far these do not appear to have materialised. Today's report of an apparent decrease in consultant productivity since the introduction of the contract is worrying and raises profound questions about the effectiveness of the deal and what now needs to be done to ensure that it delivers greater productivity in future.

'Consultants are at the core of the NHS and deserve to be paid well for the work they do. But today’s assessment that consultants' working practices have not changed calls into question the rationale behind the combined pay rises, which should have delivered measurably better care and services to patients.

'Today's report echoes the findings of an investigation the King's Fund conducted last year, Assessing the New NHS Consultant Contract: A something for something deal? into the new contract. It found that a combination of rushed implementation, a serious underestimate of existing consultant workloads and a lack of national guidance made it difficult for hospitals to use the contract to bring about improvements for patients.'

Notes to editors: 

  1. The King's Fund report Assessing the New NHS Consultant Contract: A something for something deal? was published in May 2006.
  2. For further information or interviews, please contact the King’s Fund press office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  3. The King’s Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.