HC Deb 21 July 1958 vol 592 c1W
3. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Health if he will give for each year since the inception of the National Health Service the total amount paid in merit payments; and if he will make a statement on the administration of the scheme, indicating upon what basis merit payments are made and giving examples of the individual amounts paid.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Awards are made on the recommendations of a Committee set up to advise my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and myself which consultants should receive awards for professional distinction. Four per cent. of consultants receive awards at the rate of £2,500 a year for whole-time employment, 10 per cent. at the rate of £1,500 and 20 per cent. at the rate of £500. Part-time consultants receive a fraction related to the amount of time for which they are employed in the hospital service. The number of awards in payment in England and Wales at the end of 1957 was:

A wards at the rate of
£2,500 £1,500 £500
276 690 1,377

Information about the actual amounts paid is not readily available but it is estimated that the amounts would be approximately:

1948 (6 months) 680,000
1949 1,450,000
1950 1,550,000
1951 1,650,000
1952 1,740,000
1953 1,820,000
1954 1,850,000
1955 1,890,000
1956 1,920,000
1957 1,960,000

The basic salary of consultants holding awards at the rate of £2,500 or £1,500 is abated by £300 and £200 respectively—or in due proportion in the case of part-time appointments.