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Clinical Academics - Frequently Asked Questions

We have adapted a list of FAQs developed by the NHS Modernisation Agency's Consultant Contract Implementation Team and have included UCL specific information. This list is regularly updated, and includes the following:

Transfer date and back pay for 2003/04
Commitment date and back pay for 2003/04
Back pay
Intensity Pay
Overseas experience
Dual Qualification
Ready Reckoner
Programmed Activities
Payment for additional Programmed Activities
Private Practice
A+B Contracts
Part-time Consultant Clinical Academics
Study Leave
Fee Paying Services
London Weighting
Clinical Excellence Awards



Q. How is seniority calculated?

Q. Does being a Maximum Part Time Consultant Clinical Academic for a number of years affect the way in which seniority is calculated?

A. No, the fact that this was employment as a MPT Consultant Clinical Academic consultant does not affect the method of calculation. Seniority is calculated on the number of completed years of service as a consultant (as defined in the contract), plus the position on the salary scale to which they were appointed.

Q. Does previous service as a locum count towards seniority?

A. UCL does take into consideration previous locum experience in calculating seniority and salary threshold.

Q. Do both paid and unpaid leave for maternity or sickness count towards seniority?

A. Yes.

Q. Does service during sabbatical leave count towards seniority?

A. Yes it does.

Transfer date and back pay for 2003/04

Q. I am still confused about backdating and seniority. Could you explain it please?

A. When you calculate your seniority you calculate it at the date that is the effective date of commencement of your contract. If you are eligible to receive backdated pay, then the effective date of commencement of the contract is the date you have chosen for backdating. In summary, the backdating date = effective start date of new contract = date for calculating seniority = anniversary date for pay progression purposes. The date of transfer is not the same as the commitment date.

Q. Can I delay moving to the contract after 1 April 2003?

A. Yes, but this will affect the amount of back pay you will receive. You may choose to delay your date of entry to the new contract to obtain an additional year of seniority. You may prefer this as an alternative to receiving the full amount of back pay available. You choose the date upon which you transfer to the new contract.

Commitment date and back pay for 2003/04

Q. Could you please explain the commitment date and its impact on back pay?

The commitment date is the date by which you provided formal expression of your intent to join the new contract to UCL. The commitment date is not the same as the date of transfer to the new contract.

The commitment date has implications for your eligibility of back pay as follows:

Formal commitment to the new contract by 31 January 2004- back pay of pay increase to 1 April 2003, conditional upon an integrated Job Plan being agreed by 31 March.

Formal commitment to the new contract between 1 February 2004 and 31 March 2004, back pay of pay increase 3 months from the commitment date, conditional upon an integrated Job Plan being agreed within three months of the date of commitment.

Commitment to the new contract after 31 March 2004, no backdating.

Where a job plan deadline could not be met for reasons beyond the clinical academic's control, the principle of extenuating circumstances will apply if this was communicating to the appropriate managers and alternative arrangements made at the time.

Back pay: 2003/04

Q. When can I expect my back pay to be paid?

At UCL the basic back pay arrears will be settled in the month in which payment under the new contract is implemented via Payroll.

Q. How much back pay am I entitled to?

Back pay of salary increases for 2003/04 relates to the period from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004. Backdated payment of the 2003/04 salary increase will be based on 10 programmed activities. No back pay for additional programmed activities will be paid.

Due to the large volume of Consultant Clinical Academics transferring to the new contract, UCL is unable to provide calculations of back pay prior to the implementation of the new contract.

However, once paid, back pay arrears will be indicated on payslips and all enquiries in relation to back pay calculations will be dealt with by UCL Payroll.

Date of transfer and 2003/04 back pay
If you gave a formal commitment to the new contract before 1 April 2004, the transfer date will be used to calculate your back pay. Thus, if you are eligible to receive backdated pay, the effective date of commencement of the contract is the date you have chosen for backdating.

In summary, the date to which back pay will be made = effective start date of new contract = date for calculating seniority = anniversary date for pay progression purposes. The date of transfer is not the same as the commitment date.

Comparison of transfer dates:
2003 vs 2004 as date of entry to the new contract

Date of entry to
the new contract

Back pay


Salary threshold

1 April 2003 to
31 March 2004

More back pay

Lower seniority

Lower threshold

1 April 2004 onwards

Less back pay

Higher seniority

Higher threshold

Intensity Pay

Intensity payments are not a part of the new Consultant Clinical Academic Contract. This is confirmed in a document distributed by the NHS Modernisation Agency Consultant Contract Implementation Team 'Introductory Note on Key Pay Elements'. This can be accessed on

Therefore any payments of intensity pay relevant to the period after the date of transfer to the new contract will be deducted at the same time that back dating is paid for basic pay.

Pay Protection

2003/04, there will be no financial detriment to clinical academics for whom the combined total of their basic pay (as calculated under Table 1) and any on-call availability supplement would otherwise be less than the combined total of their basic pay and any intensity supplement under their previous contract and terms and conditions. For Clinical Academics transferring to the new contract in 2003/04, there will be full protection for one year, taking account of the annual pay uplift for 2004/05 for Clinical Academics on previous national terms and conditions. After this date, protection will be on a mark-time basis, i.e. until the new salary exceeds the salary at the point of transfer. Protection will be subject to the Clinical Academic continuing to undertake the same level of duties and responsibilities (and on-call commitments if applicable).

Back Pay 2004/5

Any additional Programmed Activities, after 1st April 2004 that you agree to carry out as part of the integrated job planning process, either for UCL or for the relevant NHS Trust(s), will be paid. APAs will be reassessed at each annual job plan review. If you hold Distinction Award, Discretionary Point(s) or a Clinical Excellence Award, then any APA will be paid at your enhanced rate as appropriate.

Overseas experience

Q. How does overseas experience count towards seniority?

A. Overseas experience will be validated in order to include it in seniority calculations. Use the overseas consultant experience form.

Dual Qualification

Q. Can you clarify the arrangements for crediting seniority where the length of training has been extended due to dual qualification?

A. Dual qualification in this respect is where two university degrees are essential for the medical aspect of a post (for example, medicine and dentistry for maxillo facial surgeons). The arrangements are not applicable to post-graduate qualifications.

Q. I note the Terms and Conditions provide for additional seniority (in some circumstances) for those who undertook lengthened training because of undergoing dual qualification. I also understand that dual qualification is necessary for some consultant posts (e.g. maxillo-facial surgeons need dental and medical degrees) but is that the same as dual accreditation?

A. Schedules 13.7 and 14.6 provide for additional seniority if a consultant's training has been lengthened as a result of undergoing dual qualification, if this would prevent the consultant reaching the pay threshold they would have attained had they trained on a single qualification basis. This provision and the term "dual qualification" should be interpreted as applying only to those posts that require the holder to possess two undergraduate degrees, as in the maxillo-facial surgeon example. Dual accreditation is not, therefore, the same as dual qualification.

The following list gives illustrative situations or qualifications that are NOT covered by the definition as set out above, and WOULD NOT increase seniority:

Ready Reckoner

Q How do I get the Ready Reckoner to function properly?

A. The Ready Reckoner is a financial tool that will enable you to calculate and judge the financial effects of the new contract. Ensure you are using the most up to date version the 2003/2004 edition. It is available on the UCL web pages dedicated to Consultant Clinical Academics:

There are two other common problems: - not enabling macros when the programme is

loading, or if working from a hospital computer the network manager may not allow macros to be run or not pressing the enter/return key after inputting the last number.

Q. Where do I enter London Allowance, car park, phone and other personal allowances on the ready reckoner?

A. There is no provision for these types of payments to be entered on the ready reckoner because it is not a system for calculating everyone's entire salary package. It can only give an indication to consultants as to how their salary might change under the contract. Allowances such as these are not altered as a result of moving to the new contract.

Programmed Activities

Q. Can part Programmed Activities be included in Job Plans and be paid as part PAs?

A. The contract is not hours based but structured around 10 Programmed Activities (PAs) each with a timetable value of 4 hours. PAs can be divided into half units for example and the number can vary (by agreement) week by week to reflect service needs. This does not mean that each week must necessarily contain the same number of PAs, but the average number of PAs per week over the year should be a whole number. The new job plan should not simply be based on a retrospective exercise to count the hours currently worked, but on a prospective assessment of the duties that it is jointly agreed will be carried out under the new contract.

Q. How should the 10 PAs be allocated?

A. The UCL Job Planning Guide provides comprehensive information relating to job planning at UCL. At UCL, a minimum of 5 programmed activities (PAs) must be attributed to academic related work. The remaining 5 NHS related PAs should be split in a ratio of 3:l between Direct Clinical Care (DCC) and Supporting Professional Activities (SPA). See

Payment for additional programmed activities

Calculating the value of additional programmed activities:

The value of an additional programmed activity is variable depending on:

(1) The pay threshold, and,

(2) Whether or not the Consultant Clinical Academic holds discretionary points or a

distinction award or a clinical excellence award.

Calculation 1

If you do NOT have a discretionary point or distinction award or a clinical excellence award, perform the following calculation:

Basic salary and payment for additional programmed activities for staff holding honorary consultant contracts whose first appointment to a post on the consultant, or a consultant equivalent, grade was on or before 31 January 2004

Level of seniority (years)

FTE salary on commencement

Payment for
one additional Programmed Activity

Annual Payment for one additional Programmed Activity per week
































































Calculation 2

If you have a discretionary point or distinction award or a clinical excellence award, perform the following calculation:

Calculate the value of one additional PA per week:

1. Take the value of the basic full time pay threshold point (or in some instances the value of the assimilation point). No other payments should be added. Divide this payment by 10. This provides figure "A".

Proceed to the next step:

2. If you have a discretionary point or distinction award or a clinical excellence award, perform the following calculation to calculate figure "B":

Outcome: The annual value of 1 APA = "A" + "B"

Private Practice

Q. What are the rules if a consultant wishes to undertake private practice?

A. All Consultant Clinical Academics, including those who work part time, will, if they wish to remain eligible for pay progression, be expected to offer no more than 1 additional PA per week of spare professional capacity to UCL before undertaking other paid clinical work. This additional PA will be paid at the appropriate rate. A whole time consultant with an 11 or more PA per week job plan would not be expected to offer any additional work on top of this. See for more details.

A+B Contracts

Q, What is the position of those on A+B contract under the new contract?

A. The position of those on A + B arrangements will be exactly the same as those on substantive/honorary contracts.

Part time Consultant Clinical Academics

Q. How should PAs for part time Consultant Clinical Academics who wish transfer to the new contract be calculated?

A. Part time consultants can choose to take up the contract on the number of PAs nearest to their hours of work.

Study leave

Q. Should study leave be counted as part of a PA?

A. Study leave is not intended to form part of the content of PAs allocated to supporting professional activities.

Fee Paying Services

Q. How will fee paying service be affected under the new contract?

A. The general principle is that where the activities have been agreed as part of the job plan and occur within the 10 full time programmed activities, then the Consultant Clinical Academic will not be paid an additional fee. However there are circumstances where the consultant can retain the fee, for example where the work is undertaken in the consultant's own time. See for more details.

London Allowance

Q Could you clarify the position of London Allowance with respect to the new Consultant contract?

A. There will be no change to the London Allowance provisions from the current contract. The current rate was increased to £2,098 p.a. with effect from 1 April 2004.

Clinical Excellence Awards

Q. When Clinical Excellence Awards (CEA) come into operation will those Consultant Clinical Academics on Discretionary Awards (DAs) and Discretionary Points (DPs) transfer across to a level that is the same?

A. No. Consultant Clinical Academics in receipt of a DA or DPs will keep them, subject to existing review provisions, and must apply for awards under the new scheme in the normal way. The award of a CEA will subsume the value of any DPs or DAs held by the consultant. Please see the guidance to the new scheme, which can be found at

Q. Is the cost of CEAs to be fully funded through the consultant contract?

A. The funding for the Clinical Excellence Awards is completely separate from the new contract. The same level of funding for CEAs has been made available as there would have been for new DPs and DAs under the current systems.

Q. I am an existing Maximum Part Time Consultant Clinical Academic with 8 Discretionary Points. As an MPT I currently receive 10/11 of their value. If I transfer to the new contract as a Whole Time Consultant Clinical Academic, is the value of my Discretionary Points subject to the same transitional arrangement as my salary?

A. Yes, in year 2003/4 you will receive 10/11ths of the value of your award plus one third of the difference between 10/11ths and 11/11ths; and in 2004/5 10/11ths of the value plus two thirds of the difference. In 2005/6 you will receive the full value of these Discretionary Points. The same would apply if you were receiving a Distinction Award.


Q. I am an existing Maximum Part Time Consultant, if I choose to move to the new Consultant Contract, how will this affect my pension?

A. If you decide to move to the new contract your future pension contributions will be treated as whole time under the NHS Pension Scheme. Your previous credits will remain at 10/11s. This means that you would receive whole time membership credits for your pension benefits based on whole time pay. Alternatively, MPT consultants have the option of retaining MPT status for pension purposes during the transitional phase of moving to the new contract.

Q. If a part time consultant contracts for Additional Programmed Activities are these pensionable?

A. They may be. Schedule 17.2 lists payments that are pensionable. These include "the consultant's basic salary (up to ten Programmed Activities), including pay thresholds". The Pensions Agency has confirmed that PAs worked by part time consultants are pensionable up to a total combined maximum of ten PAs. That is, the total of their basic contracted PAs plus any additional PAs. If that total were to exceed 10, then only the first 10 are pensionable.