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Quality Accounts

The Clinical Excellence Awards Scheme

Clinical Excellence Awards recognise and regard NHS consultants and academic GPs who perform 'over and above' the standard expected of their role. Awards are given for quality and excellence, acknowledging exceptional personal contributions.

To be considered for an award, consultants and academic GPs will have to demonstrate achievements in developing and delivering high-quality patient care, and a commitment to the continuous improvement of the NHS.

It is important to remember, however:

  • the absence of a Clinical Excellence Award is not an indication that a consultant will provide anything other than high-quality clinical care
  • that comparisons between award levels will not be a reliable guide to the standard of everyday care provided by different consultants

There are currently 12 levels of award. Levels 1-8 are awarded locally (employer-based awards), with 8 being the highest, and levels 10-12 (silver, gold and platinum hereafter) are awarded nationally. Level 9 awards can be awarded locally or nationally, depending on the type of contribution. To avoid confusion, national level 9s are usually referred to as bronze.

It should be noted a small number of consultants have awards from a previous version of the Clinical Excellence Awards Scheme, these comprise B, A and A+ Distinction Awards. These can be considered generally equivalent to the current Bronze, Gold and Platinum Awards, respectively.


The 13 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Neil59 said on 30 June 2014

I like the concept of offering awards for excellence. However the scheme is inequitable when you compare it to other professions in the NHS that are not eligible to apply. The local level awards are subject to the size of the pot of money and number of people applying each year. As a result there is no consistency and the scheme is inequitable each year.

The Award is for life, not just for that one achievement. Eg. The consultant A could perform excellently one year and then receive the payment on top of salary for the rest of his career. Eg. £120,000 + £36,000 or more every year. It should be either a one off bonus payment or just an award which gives intrinsic motivation. How much does this award cost the NHS and tax payers every year.

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NHWorker said on 09 January 2014

I work for the NHS as may be deduced from my username.

The Consultant Clinical Exellence Award scheme is a complete waste of public money. There are many reasons for this but the main 2 are:

It is divisive (and is counter to the concept of teamwork among consultants and with other health professionals)


It doesn't work.

For those of you who think performance related pay works I invite you to look at the evidence eg Wikipedia page on this subject. It only works for piecework ie skilled manual tasks that are well learnt and can then be speeded up. There is NO (repeat NO) evidence that performance related pay motivates any other workers and particularly those with any kind of majorly intellectually challenging role. Just because lots of people say that PRP is a useful way of motivating staff does not mean that it's true (IT ISN'T).

Against this background it really is obscene that these payments keep being made to people who clearly don't need the money while many district hospitals are facing closure or down-grading of services that the local populations need and value, for lack of funds.

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User821878 said on 01 December 2013

If you advertise your services privately as Clinic Award Level 1, without a clear explanation of what that means, you are in breach of Rule 70 of the Medical Pratice Guide of the GMC:

70. When advertising your services, you must make sure the information you publish is factual and can be checked, and does not exploit patients’ vulnerability or lack of medical knowledge.

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User821878 said on 30 November 2013

Some info on the awards. The Clinical Award Level 1 is the lowest award level - Level 12 being the highest.

Essentially there are 12 levels of award, and doctors get more money as they move up the levels. The awards are split into local and national, however, which is where it starts to get a bit complicated. It’s not a one-off payment, and awards are held until retirement, subject to satisfactory review.

So how much money are we talking?

In 2010 levels 1-5 awards were each worth an extra £2950 a year, and levels 6 to 9 awards were each worth an extra £5900 a year. If you’re a level 9 or bronze award holder in 2010, then you’ll be on an extra £35?400 a year. Silver’s worth about £46?000, gold’s worth about £58?300, and platinum is worth just under £75?800. Awards are pensionable.

How are they funded?

Money is held back from consultants’ overall pay package as agreed with the national pay review body. Employers distribute local awards from their salary budget. The pot available locally is proportional to the number of eligible consultants.

So people just work their way up?

Not necessarily. You can skip levels with a brilliant application, and you don’t need a top local award to apply for a national one. You can go straight for a national award, but generally most doctors will have reached at least level 4 locally before putting themselves forward. You do need to progress up through silver, gold, and platinum, though.

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User821878 said on 29 November 2013

The NHS is supposed to provide clear unambiguous information.

Consultants are addvertising their private practice and saying they are Clinic Award level 1. Level 1 is the basic award in the range 1 - 12,

This is downright misleading.

Besides, there is no indication of what an award level is, what it meands, whether it is objective, standardised etc.

This is quite frankly appalling.

So what I want to know is what is going to be done about it, and when?

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User821878 said on 21 November 2013

Akso agree that there should be negative awards, dont you agree that more accountability is needed, in both public and private medicine?

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User821878 said on 21 November 2013

Yes awards are ok.

BUT the ratings are backwards and misleading.

eg Clinic Award 1 is the lowest rating , 8 is best

There are some doctors boasting that they have Award level 1,
which is actually the lowest rated award,

Caveat emptor!

Buyer beware

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UnhappyBunny said on 15 May 2013

How often are these awards of excellence re monitored? I can tell you emphatically that in my case the award level for the consultant that I saw recently should have had a minus in front of the number. There should also be a year stated for when the award was given. I am not alone in having a bad experience with this particular consultant but his award level is quite high which is very misleading. All staff should have spot checks and patient evaluation sheets done after each consultation not just let the award level be stated for the foreseeable future. Consultants are not gods.

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Bovey said on 02 April 2012

Unfortunately in my opinion the levels are not indicative of ability. The higher rated rheumatologist saw me and after a cursury examination declared I "only had fibromyalgia" and no sign of inflammatory arthritis. (30 yrs previously I had been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis by a doctor since retired), they had not appeared to have read my notes; they did not order any investigations. My GP accepted the diagnosis without thought. I had to pay for a second opinion. This second rheumatologist was "only" a level 2. After MRI scans ankylosing spondylitis was confirmed; it is now severe. my spine is fused in many places including my chest. Thank God I could pay!
The first rheumatologist had previously seen me when they first came to the area; they discharged me, not appearing to want patients with AS clogging up their list. I was left to deteriorate under the "care" of my GP.

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she57 said on 15 February 2012

I have been under the plastic surgery dept since I had breast cancer in 2004. Unfortunately my immediate reconstruction failed and have since had chemo and radio treatment, thus along with a large weight gain has delayed my reconstruction. I am now in the final stages after having an inflater inserted and am now awaiting a final implant. However due to the current situation with the PIP implant scare I am concerned that this will delay my final operation.
Despite all the trauma that I have been through I cannot praise my consultant enough for the treatment I have received, he has always been there for me and explained each procedure thoroughly and made sure that I have understood the situation. He promised me that he would 'put me back together again' I can only say that I am well on my way to being just that. Hooray for the NHS.

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roly50 said on 13 December 2011

I am under a cardiologist consultant with ongoing heart problems,I would not want to go any where else he is great and I cannot thank him enough for his help.
Also a big thank you to all the staff in the cardiology unit and the pace maker clinic you are a very special group of dedicated people.
To the Glenfield Hospital I have to say whenever I need help with my heart condition I would want to be taken to your hospital, You are all appreciated very much by me and my wife.
Merry Christmas to you all at the Glenfield Hospital

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Ray Lee said on 06 December 2011

I can only speak as to my experience at NUH cardiology are a life saver. they go above and beyond the call of duty.
Well done Foxglove you are amazing.

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Billericay said on 27 October 2011

I am not surprised that the neurologist is only a Level 2 as they got my diagnosis. I have Antiphospholipid Syndrome and Sneddon's Syndrome and have had 2 strokes.

The neurologist diagnosis was that I had a somatisation disorder and needed psychiatric help? If it were not for their comments I may have had help in getting my disorders diagnosed sooner thus avoiding having the strokes.

Thanks Doc.

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Page last reviewed: 09/01/2013

Next review due: 09/01/2015

The DDRB Report on its review of the Clinical Excellence Awards Scheme

The award schemes have been reviewed on a UK wide basis by the independent Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration. The government has identified some recommendations that have been accepted and announced that further discussions with the medical profession will be undertaken.