Doctors' bonus scheme halted to save £2m

A BONUS pay scheme for NHS consultants is to be halted by the in a move the SNP government.

However, the 2m of planned savings from the 28 million distinction awards scheme for NHS consultants was described as a "sop" by Liberal Democrat finance spokesman Jeremy Purvis.

As of September last year, 578 consultants received awards, equal to 12 per cent of the total working in Scottish hospitals.

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The scheme's proposed budget for 2011-12 will be 26 million, the first annual decrease since devolution, according to the Scottish Government. Awards will not be offered to anyone in 2011-12 and a freeze on existing payments will be continued for the scheme, which has existed since the NHS was founded more than 60 years ago.

Mr Purvis said: "Trimming 2m off a 28m bonus pot is not tough action on bonuses, it's a sop."

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "It is no longer possible to justify paying significant bonuses even to highly skilled members of the NHS workforce."