Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association

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Full nameHospital Consultants and Specialists Association
Members3,500 (2016)
Key peoplePresident Dr Claudia Paoloni, FRCA Chair of the Executive Dr Cindy Horst, FRCA
Office locationBasingstoke, Hampshire
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) is a nationally recognised professional association and trade union in the UK dedicated solely to hospital consultants, specialty doctors and core/specialty hospital doctors in training and Foundation grades ("junior doctors"), originally established in 1948 as the Regional Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association.[1]

It was granted national collective bargaining rights for all grades of hospital doctors in England by NHS Employers on 22 December 2016. This is the first time any trade union for doctors other than the British Medical Association has been nationally recognised by the NHS.[2]

In 1974 the association's rules were amended to extend membership rights to all senior hospital doctors, and its members voted for a new name, the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, to reflect this change.[1]

HCSA has been affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) since 1979.[3]

The association has admitted hospital specialty doctors in training ("junior doctors") since a rule change announced on 1 May 2013.[4]

On 28 April 2017 members voted for a rule change that extended membership further to encompass all post-graduate hospital doctors, including Foundation grades for the first time.[5]

On 25 June 2013 HCSA attended is first meeting of the NHS Staff Council, a body containing representatives of staff-side unions and NHS employers.[6][7]

In April 2018, the HCSA AGM endorsed Dr Claudia Paoloni as President-elect. When she takes up her post in 2019 she will become the first ever woman President in the association's history.[8]

The association publishes a bi-monthly magazine for members, Hospital Consultant & Specialist.[9]

Organisational structure[edit]

Every four years HCSA members elect members to the ruling Council, with representation based on relevant Constituencies as determined by the Council, which meets every six months. Currently there are 13 geographical constituencies, each with the right to elect up to four representatives to the Council. Day-to-day decisions are made by a standing committee, known as the Executive, which meets regularly and is drawn from Council members who are appointed to National Officer roles.[10]

The Executive's current membership comprises:[11]

2014-15 NHS pay dispute[edit]

On 28 July 2014 a consultative ballot of HCSA members was announced over the government's decision to ignore a Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration (DDRB) recommendation of a 1 per cent pay rise for all NHS staff.[12]

An extraordinary meeting of the HCSA executive met to consider the results of the ballot, which closed on 18 August 2014, after 80 per cent of those voting backed some form of industrial action.[13] The executive subsequently voted to hold a formal ballot on industrial action.[13]

In the wake of the consultative ballot results HCSA President Professor John Schofield said: "Doctors have only very rarely indicated any willingness to undertake industrial action, and it demonstrates the strength of feeling within our profession. We will continue to listen to our members and represent their views to NHS Employers. I hope that we can encourage further dialogue between the government, employers and unions to avoid the possibility of action.”[13]

HCSA members mounted industrial action in the form of "work to rule" alongside other health unions in October 2014.[14]

2015 Consultants' Contract[edit]

On 16 July 2015 the DDRB published its recommendations following an independent review of the Consultants' Contract and the Doctors in Training Contract.[15]

In the wake of the report, on 30 July 2015, HCSA stated its position In Favour of A Safe Seven-Day Service, highlighting the need for the principles of safety, fairness and work-life balance to be maintained in any changes.[16][17]

2015 Junior Doctors Dispute[edit]

On 5 October 2015, then HCSA General Secretary Eddie Saville set out the association's position calling for A Fair Deal for Doctors In Training.[18]

Explaining the HCSA position, he said: "As with our position on the consultant aspect of the DDRB proposals currently being pursued by the government and employers, this stance is guided by the principle that any successful outcome must balance safety, fairness and work-life balance. It must also meet the recruitment and retention test needed to ensure that the health service remains properly staffed. What's more any attempt to impose contractual changes on doctors in training is completely unacceptable, flying in the face of the basic tenets of trade unionism - that negotiation not imposition is the way to bring about a positive outcome that delivers for trainee doctors, patients and the health service as a whole."[18]


  1. ^ a b "65 Historic Years" Archived 2015-10-19 at the Wayback Machine, HCSA, Retrieved on 26 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Alternative doctors union allowed to negotiate pay and contracts". Health Service Journal. 4 January 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  3. ^ "HCSA and the TUC" Archived 2015-10-19 at the Wayback Machine, HCSA, Retrieved on 26 October 2015.
  4. ^ "HCSA welcomes hospital doctors in training", HCSA, 1 May 2013. Retrieved on 26 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Foundation trainees welcomed into HCSA family". Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  6. ^ "HCSA to take its seat on the NHS Staff Council", The Hospital Consultant and Specialist, page 5, June 2013. Retrieved on 26 October 2015.
  7. ^ "NHS Staff Council", NHS Employers. Retrieved on 26 October 2015.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Hospital Consultant & Specialist, August 2015", Hospital Consultant & Specialist, August 2015. Retrieved on 26 October 2015.
  10. ^ "HCSA rules", HCSA, April 2014. Retrieved on October 26 2015.]
  11. ^ "Structure of the HCSA", HCSA, May 2016. Retrieved on 23 May 2016.
  12. ^ "HCSA asks members for their views on pay in consultative ballot", HCSA, 28 July 2014. Retrieved on 26 October 2015.
  13. ^ a b c "HCSA to ballot doctor membership over industrial action", Hospital Dr, 24 August 2014. Retrieved on 26 October 2015.
  14. ^ NHS strike: clinics close and operations cancelled in dispute over pay", The Guardian, London 13 October 2014. Retrieved on October 26 2015.
  15. ^ "Contract reform for consultants and doctors and dentists in training – supporting healthcare services seven days a week", Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration, 16 July 2015. Retrieved on 26 October 2015.
  16. ^ "HCSA launches campaign for a safe seven-day service", HCSA, 30 July 2015. Retrieved on October 26 2015.
  17. ^ "Doctors really do want seven-day working", Health Service Journal, 7 September 2015. Retrieved on 26 October 2015.
  18. ^ a b "HCSA calls for A Fair Deal for Doctors in Training", HCSA, 5 October 2015. Retrieved on October 26 2015.

External links[edit]