This resource was generated with the assistance of the Universities & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA)
You may have questions about how your working terms and conditions would be affected by choosing a clinical academic career. On this page we have collated some frequently asked questions about the transition to clinical academia. If your question is not listed please feel free to contact us for advice.
What will be the impact on my salary?
There should be no impact on salary. This is because university employers maintain pay parity with the NHS for their clinical academic staff. This means that university pay scales for clinical academics mirror the pay points for clinical staff in the NHS. UCEA develops clinical academic pay scales in consultation with the BMA, BDA and UCU, based on the NHS pay circular.
You will also continue to be eligible for national and local clinical excellence awards.
Will I have two separate contracts?
Yes. A clinical academic role is one job, but with two linked parts: academic work (research, teaching, education etc) and clinical work (usually in an NHS trust or GP practice). There will be two employers, who will work together to have joint oversight of your role – it is a tripartite relationship between the individual clinical academic, the university employer and the NHS employer.
There will be a substantive contract with one employer (usually the university), and a linked honorary contract with the other employer (usually the NHS trust). You need to maintain a contract with the NHS in order for you to do clinical work with patients.
Very occasionally you might remain fully employed by the NHS alone, for example if you are just do a small amount of research, and have a research passport
How will my pensions be affected?
NHS employees that move to employment at a university are able to retain membership of the NHS Pension Scheme (NHSPS) where they meet the eligibility criteria* and their employer has a Medical Schools Direction agreement. Alternatively, the individual will usually join the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) but may also be enrolled in either TPS or LGPS if they are employed at a post-92 university. Currently, across the UK, over half of clinical academics employed by universities are in the NHSPS, and over a third are in the USS. A very small number are in another scheme.
*The employee must have been eligible to enter into the NHSPS in the 12 months prior to starting with the HE institution and the employee must be working wholly or mainly for the medical school and can be covering duties that are administrative, professional, technical or clerical.
- BMA (Medics only) - The effect of moving between NHS and university employment on your pension
- NHS Business Services Authority
How will my terms and conditions be affected?
As a trainee on a clinical training pathway, you will still have access to occupational benefits. The exact occupational benefits will depend on whether you remain employed by the NHS or move to being employed directly by a university.
If you are early on in your research career, it may be that you stay employed by the NHS, with an honorary university contract. If so, there will be no changes to your terms and conditions. Alternatively, you may move to being “substantively” employed by a university, with an honorary NHS contract. If this happens, you should have access to university occupational terms and conditions from day 1, counting your previous NHS service as though it had accrued in the university. University terms and conditions vary slightly from those in the NHS but are still generous.
Either way, you will not be left with just statutory benefits.
The “principles and obligations” (see link below) underscore this.
In addition, the honorary (NHS) contract includes reference to Schedule 23 of the 2003 NHS Consultant terms and conditions (TCS). Schedule 23 lists all the NHS TCS that apply to clinical academics.
- NHS Employers (medicine only) - incudes a copy of Schedule 23
- Medical Schools Council (medicine and dentistry)
- NIHR (medicine)
- NIHR (non-medics)
Will I still be entitled to maternity/paternity pay?
Yes – as per the previous FAQ. If you move to a university, you will be entitled to their occupational maternity/paternity pay.