The Duty Consultant role is broad, varied and rewarding with the opportunity to both coordinate and undertake regional critical care transfers as well as visit hospitals around the region, work alongside colleagues and support the region’s delivery of critical care. 

Duty Consultants work on average 2 clinical day shifts (09:00-21:00) and one non-resident coordinating night shift (21:00-09:00) each month averaged over each quarter to ensure sufficient flexibility for individual’s parent NHS Trust work as well as home life. 

There are two methods of remuneration for daytime work: as part of a job plan (1.983 PA per week) or on a bank/locum contract. All night time work is paid on a bank/locum contract. We already have colleagues using both systems, and remuneration is equitable regardless of the route chosen.

Frequently asked questions

What does the role involve?

Retrieve is currently a consultant led and delivered service. The Duty Consultant role is central to our operations:

  • 24/7 we take calls from hospitals around the region referring patients for critical care transfer. These come through our dedicated 0300 number to our call handler who then conferences in the Duty Consultant. Their role is to triage, coordinate and then determine the most appropriate transfer as well as give any required clinical advice to facilitate efficient and safe transfer. Time critical and urgent calls out of hours, and those that come in when the team are already committed, are routed to the ambulance service through a special arrangement we have with them, following consultant triage. The night time component of this is undertaken remotely from home and is exclusively via telephone. 
  • 12/7 (09:00-21:00) we have two teams, one at each of our bases (Launceston, Cornwall covering the Peninsula and Southmead Hospital, Bristol covering Severn). Each team consists of a Duty Consultant and Transfer Practitioner (all experienced Band 6 ICU nurses from around the region). The team undertake transfers across the region (and beyond) using our dedicated equipment, ambulances and drivers and working within our Standard Operating Procedures. 

Our current Duty Consultants say that the job adds variety, challenge and interest to their existing roles. It provides them the opportunity to visit units and hospitals and meet colleagues they would not normally work alongside.  The service is well-regarded and welcomed across the region and beyond.

I’ve not done a transfer / retrieval / pre-hospital job, does that matter?

No. We will train you on our equipment, the use of our transfer trolley and ambulances as well as provide you with our extensive library of Standard Operating Procedures. You will complete an induction process before you start and have immediate support from the Leadership Team throughout your work.

Who is your host Trust and what do they do?

We are hosted by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust. Every clinical service requires a host Trust and, just like a department in your own hospital, this is how we function. All of our management, finances, clinical and operational governance as well as HR, legal, procurement and pharmacy support comes from UHBW. We have worked hard to ensure that Retrieve operates and is seen to be a truly regional service for all within the South West Critical Care Network and are proud that UHBW have supported in us doing this. 

What is the pay?

You can choose to be job planned or paid on a ‘per shift’ basis for day shifts. In the latter case, the PA rate is calculated on the Duty Consultant’s salary scale increment and a weekday is 3.92PA and weekend is 4.95PA. All night shifts are paid on a ‘per shift’ basis at the host Trust ‘on-call’ rate.

Can I be job planned?

Yes. Based on a minimum of 15 Duty Consultants per operational base operating 365 days a year (including 52 weekends + 8 statutory bank holidays), the annualised 42 week daytime job plan is 1.983PA per week of which 8 shifts should be antisocial day shifts.

The following details have also been agreed:

  • Travel time: commuting time in excess of an individual’s normal commute will be recognised within the Job Plan as per Trust Job planning policy.
  • Travel expenses (mileage): taxable travel expenses shall be payable in respect of the part of the journey to the local Retrieve base that exceeds the ‘home to normal workplace’ journey. Claims of less than 10 miles per round trip shall not be reimbursed.
  • Payment for night time working: night time work is based at home and is remunerated at the UHBW Consultant on-call rate. 
  • Sick pay and other paid statutory entitlements
  • SPA: as the Retrieve Duty Consultant role is entirely clinical, contribution to non-clinical activity for Retrieve is undertaken during paid clinical time when DCs are awaiting referrals. Therefore this time is accounted for in the DCC PAs and there are no additional generic SPA requirements above those all Duty Consultants require for their ICU consultant roles in their base trusts (appraisal, mandatory training, CPD) that cannot be fulfilled in the time described above. 

How does the rota work?

We work on an ‘availability system’ whereby we ask for your availability for a 2 month block and then write the rota (usually within a couple of days) and publish it at least 6 weeks in advance of the first shift of that block. This allows us to maximise cover and also ensure everyone has a fair opportunity to cover shifts. Day Consultants may work 24 hours (day + night) if they choose, but there is no obligation to do so. 

What about training and education?

Retrieve are currently working with the Peninsula and Severn Schools of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine to agree how we provide training and education to trainees across the region. This will form a significant part of the Retrieve service in the long term and is key to ensuring that all patients requiring transfer receive better care. 

We are also developing our own in-house training and education programme to continually evolve and develop the service we have. We have a monthly Clinical Governance programme (via Microsoft Teams and recorded for those who cannot attend) as well as a new monthly themed education plan commencing in January 2022. 

What is the application and interview process like?

We have worked hard with UHBW to make this as minimally onerous as possible. 

We welcome informal approaches first to discuss the role and find out more – both Lead and Deputy Lead Consultants are approachable and happy to talk face-to-face, on the phone and via Microsoft Teams. 

An NHS Jobs application form is required to be completed, following which a short interview is held with the Lead and Deputy Lead Consultants (via Microsoft Teams). The HR process is typical of most Trusts and includes providing proof of your salary increment, a DBS check and Occupational Health questionnaire. It takes around 6 weeks to complete but we are able to start the training and onboarding process in parallel to save time. 

How do I find out more?

Get in touch with the team.