HL Deb 12 February 2002 vol 631 cc135-6WA
Lord Vivian

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether civilian medical consultants are employed to cover the deficiency of military medical specialists; if so, how many are employed in each speciality; and how many established posts still remain unfilled. [HL2593]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach)

The bulk of military consultants are employed by the Defence Secondary Care Agency (DSCA), which also employs civilian consultants on long and short-term contracts within its directly managed units (DMUs). The length and type of contract offered to civilian consultants depends on whether they are required to cover for service personnel who are absent on sick or annual leave, training, exercises or deployments, or to fill posts in which there are military shortages in a particular speciality.

The number of civilian consultants employed by speciality at DSCA DMUs as at 1 February 2002 is shown in the table below. Although outwith the DSCA's management, the agency is responsible for providing military or, where necessary. civilian consultants for the Duke of Connaught Unit (DCU) in Northern Ireland. Accordingly, the DCU is covered in the table.

Speciality Number of civilian consultants filling military consultants posts for 6 months or longer Number of military consultant posts filled by civilian locums (employed for consultant posts under 6 months) Number of established1 military unfilled
Anaesthetics 1 1 2
Medicine 1 1 1
General Surgery 1 1 1
Orthopaedics 0 1 0
Rheumatology & Rehabilitation 0 0 2
Obstetrics & Gynaecology 2 1 0
Paediatrics 0 1 0
Psychiatry 102 33 0
1 The military consultant establishment is based on the current provision of secondary care services across DSCA sites, as opposed to the operational and retained task requirement, which is the military manning requirement deemed necessary in the event of total mobilisation.
2 Seven of these posts are full time, three part time.
3 Two of these posts are full time, one part time.

Under the contractual arrangements between the Ministry of Defence and the NHS trusts that host the Centre for Defence Medicine and Ministry of Defence hospital units, the trusts are responsible for employing consultants to fill vacant military posts. Accordingly, the DSCA does not maintain statistics on the civilian consultant cover at these units.