Government proposals to hand prizes to doctors who support nurse-led research have been slammed by a prominent nurse researcher.
The Department of Health has made the suggestion as part of a review into consultant doctors’ bonuses – known as clinical excellence awards.
The DH said the awards, which are worth £500m a year and are paid on top of consultants’ maximum £120,000 salaries, could be partly replaced with award ceremonies celebrating doctors’ achievements.
One measure for prizes, according to a study reference by the DH, should be whether a consultant has supported nurse-led research.
But Alison Metcalfe, associate dean at King’s College London Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery, said: “This should be happening automatically. Nurses should be supported to lead research because it’s fundamental in improving patient care and experience.”
Despite this, support from medical colleagues was “highly variable”, she said.
Clinical excellence awards have proved controversial because the money is added to doctors’ salaries each year, subject to five yearly reviews. Many argue doctors retain the awards even when the standard of their work has dropped.
The National Quality Board and NHS Employers have suggested some of the money should be redistributed to other professionals, such as nurses.
Professor Metcalfe agreed that any money taken out of doctors’ bonus schemes “should be reinvested in supporting nurses”.