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Clinical excellence awards

  • Trevor Turner (a1) and Michael Maier (a2)
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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Clinical excellence awards

  • Trevor Turner (a1) and Michael Maier (a2)
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eLetters

Further Flaws in Clinical Excellence Awards

Alex J Mitchell, Consultant in Liaison Psychiatry
03 October 2005



I would like to thank Trevor Turner and Michael Maier for highlighting some of the problems with the CEA system in such a bold fashion. It would seem that the only advocates of the system are those who have migrated to the high reaches of the National awards. As I am at the exact opposite end, I can only see the flaws in the process without the benefits!

The new CEA system recommends a minimum allocation of points of 0.35 per consultant. However, in almost all trusts this is somehow applied as the ceiling, not the floor, with no points available beyond this level. In addition, local trusts have adopted their own ways of allocating awards (for example a mysterious fallow year, or weighting of the sub-areas non-uniformly). A low level award has often be allocated to “most” decent applicants in some trusts – rather to excellent candidates which is the intention of the CEAs. Yet, I have no issue with a fair distribution of pay – but in that case surely it would be better all round if all consultants nationally received the same pay per session? We seem to be teetering on the brink of payment by results despite opposition by the BMA and acceptance of current CEAs may be one form of this (http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/331/7507/9-b/DC1). And if this isn’t considered rational then the assessment process for CEAs must be considerably improved. I cannot understand why points can only be granted and not taken away. There appear to be virtually no instances at local level and few at national level where awards for work claimed sometimes 10 years previously are re-examined. This was meant to be one of the significant changes after the Wisheart/Bristol enquiry (http://society.guardian.co.uk/bristolinquiry/story/0,10770,526164,00.html). Consider if a colleague with a level 9 award is nine times "more excellent" than a colleague with only a level 1 award.

The overall ACCEA guideline document emphasises the need for evidence….evidence of quality, evidence of research, evidence of teaching. Yet, when I attempted to submit this evidence, I was told there was no place for such material. Rather an applicant shoud simply claim what he/she is achieving in the fixed format of the form. Indeed, because our trust requires a local submission before the National CEA deadline to be made by early October, applicants must make a claim on the form what excellent achievements they intend to make over the forthcoming six months!
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