Awards scheme gets new name and rules

Clinical Excellence Awards now worth half and no longer pensionable

By Edie Bourne

Doctors who have been rewarded for going ‘above and beyond’ in the medical profession will find their award for excellence is now worth almost half of what it would have been last year. 

In a shake up of the National Clinical Excellence Awards (CEAs), the Government has announced more consultants will be rewarded with bonus payments but the value of individual awards will be worth considerably less. 

The awards, now renamed as the National Clinical Impact Awards, will also no longer be pensionable. 

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has revised the national version of the awards to ‘broaden access to the scheme, make the application process fairer and more inclusive, and to change the application process’. 

Patrick Convey, technical director at specialist financial planners Cavendish Medical, explained: ‘The changes have been launched to make the awards more inclusive and accessible, but critics will argue that consultants will be receiving a much smaller bonus for going the extra mile. This comes at a time when many senior doctors are already questioning the value of staying in their roles because of punitive taxation. 

‘The fact that the new awards are non-pensionable could be seen as a positive for some because, hist­orically, the payments often triggered annual allowance tax charges. It may be easier going forward to calculate your tax status without considering the CEA payment, but there could be a substantial loss to pension benefits.’

The 2022 round of the National Clinical Impact Awards was launched in April. Previously the awards in England were worth £36,192, £47,582, £59,477 or £77,320 a year for five years at Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum level.

Now the awards will have just three numbered levels and be worth £20,000, £30,000 and £40,000. Wales also has a £10,000 award.

Mr Convey continued: ‘There have been lots of changes to both the national and local CEA schemes in recent years, not helped by the pandemic putting things on hold. 

‘These latest substantial changes could have a bearing on your retirement income and, as ever, ascertaining your true financial position as soon as possible is the best starting point to ensure your future security.’

The Clinical Excellence Awards have existed since the inception of the NHS in 1948 but have been in the most recent format since 2004.