Letter from Mr Alan Langlands,
Chief Executive of the NHS
Thank you for your letter of 13
November. I am content for the Select Committee's forthcoming
report on clinical academic careers to quote from the letter of
26 June 1997.
I believe that the steps Professor
Fender and I have taken to ensure good liaison between HEFCE and
the NHS over future research assessment exercises and in particular,
how health services research is handled are very important. I
am pleased that the Select Committee has taken note of our intervention.
You may also wish to be aware that
since Sir Rex Richards began his work there have been a number
of other significant developments.
In response to concerns over the
implementation of the Calman reforms to higher specialist training
and their effects on clinical academic medicine, the Department
of Health has issued a special supplement to the Guide to Specialist
Registrar Training. This provides additional information
on the opportunities and flexibilities that exist under the new
training arrangements. It has been well received by the clinical
academic community and will be incorporated into a revised version
of the Guide which we expect to publish early in the New Year.
The Select Committee will also
be aware of clinical academics' longstanding concern about pay
parity with NHS colleagues. This is referred to in the draft
report. Last year, in response to this concern, the Department
for Education and Employment acted to ensure that arrangements
for clinical academics pay were placed on a firmer footing. Additional
funds were made available for 1996/97 to give, amongst other things,
clinical academics the same pay award as their NHS colleagues.
In 1997/98 HEFCE will require all universities and colleges to
meet the additional costs for medical and dental schools arising
from any pay increase awarded by the Government to NHS clinicians.
Liaison between the universities
and the NHS is also being strengthened including a joint initiative
with HEFCE to identify and disseminate good practice, highlighting
and promoting examples of good NHS/university partnership at local
An Academic and Research Sub-group
has been established as part of the Department of Health's Advisory
Group on Medical Education Training. This is chaired by the Chief
Medical Officer, Sir Kenneth Calman and provides a forum for the
academic and research community to discuss matters of mutual concern
with senior officials in the Department. This sub-group was pivotal
in producing the supplement to the Guide to Specialist Registrar
Training and is due to meet again in early December.
Finally, as part of our efforts
to strengthen the enduring partnership between the NHS and the
universities, senior staff of the NHS Executive meet at regular
intervals with members of the Council of Vice-Chancellors and
Principals. We are also forging closer working links with the
Council of Heads of Medical Schools.
I hope that the Select Committee
will find this additional information useful. Liaison arrangements
continue to improve and the Department of Health is firmly committed
to an approach which is sensitive and receptive to the concerns
of clinical academic staff.
24 November 1997