When applying for your first NHS post, you should always try and make sure you have a job description and as much detail about the post and Trust prior to interviewing. However, during your interview is always a great time to ask for further information such as proposed objectives, supporting resources available to allow you to carry out your work – all information which will show you are interested in the position.
Please note that prior to starting your position you may be given an idea of your working rota, however, the likelihood is that your rota will change slightly once you arrive at the Trust.
PAs stand for ‘Programmed Activities’.
A PA is 4 hours of work if done within the normal working week (Monday to Friday 8am-8pm). A PA done outside of the normal working week is 3 hours of work.
All the activities in your job must be detailed in your job plan – and it is important to agree to the content of the job plan before taking up your post.
The standard full-time contract is for 10 PAs, i.e. 40 hours of work per week (if that work is within the normal working week).
Posts that are less than full-time will be for fewer than 10 PAs.
However, some posts may advertise for more than 10 PAs, generally 11 or 12, (PAs greater than 12 would necessitate the doctor to opt out of the European Working Time Directive limit of 48).
No, you do not. You are not obliged (or entitled) to undertake any more than 10PAs per week. As a new full-time Speciality Doctor or Consultant, you should be offered a 10 PA contract, and your job plan should clearly state the work to be undertaken in each PA.
However, where it is not possible for your department to maintain their service, then you may, at the discretion of your employer, be offered more than 10 PAs (and the post may have been advertised as such – see above).
PAs over 10 are called EPAs (extra programmed activities) and these are generally allocated for clinical duties.
EPAs must be contracted separately to your standard contract and the duties within the 11th or 12th PA should be clearly specified.
Your hospital cannot require you to undertake scheduled work outside of 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm on Saturdays or on public holidays.
Any PA undertaken outside of the hours 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday is regarded as taking place in ‘premium time’. This means that the PA must last 3 hours instead of 4.
Your contract should state that no more than 3 PAs per week should be out of hours other than in exceptional circumstances.
Please note that the definition of premium time does not mean that, Monday to Friday, has been designated as the ‘normal working week’. It simply sets a higher rate of pay for work outside of these hours.
Your on-call commitment should be clearly set out in your job plan.
Types of on-call:
The fundamental thing to do in this situation is to get advice
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JOB PLANNING FOR YOUR FIRST CONSULTANT POST. (2014). British Medical Association. https://www.bma.org.uk/-/media/files/pdfs/practical%20advice%20at%20work/contracts/conscotjobplanningfeb2014.pdf