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Consultant Job Descriptions

An effective job description is key to delivering the highest standards of surgical care. It benefits the consultant, the employing organisation and ultimately the patients. 

This page provides an overview of the consultant job description process with links to guidance and supporting resources.

The College's role in consultant job descriptions

The RCS considers and approves job descriptions and person specifications for new or replacement posts at consultant level. 

For most specialties, this is carried out by our Regional Specialty Professional Advisors (RSPA) who can use their knowledge of the speciality and other consultant posts to review the suggested responsibilities and balance of activities of the post.

In Cardiothoracic Surgery, Neurosurgery and Vascular Surgery, the review process is centralised through the relevant specialty association.

The RSPA's role

The main role of the RSPA in this process is to ensure that the conditions of the post will enable the appointee to deliver a safe and effective service to patients. The RSPA will need to consider the professional content of the post, ensuring that it:

  • contains the appropriate balance of activities in relation to clinical, teaching, managerial and research work;
  • allows enough time for teaching and training (if appropriate);
  • ensures that the necessary support and facilities are available.

To avoid conflicts of interest, representatives should not approve job descriptions for posts in their own employing trust. On such occasions, job descriptions should be approved by an RSPA in a neighbouring region.

An approved job description is valid for 12 months. If a post is not advertised within 12 months of approval it will need to be submitted to the RSPA.

Submit a consultant job description

Please email your proposed substantive consultant job description to collegereps@rcseng.ac.uk. This will be forwarded to the correct RSPA for approval with the trust and the relevant Regional Director copied in.

Cardiothoracic Surgery, Neurosurgery and Vascular Surgery job descriptions will be logged centrally at the College and then forwarded onto the relevant specialty association for review.

Further information and resources 

The RCS guidance and checklist on NHS Surgical Consultant Job Descriptions suggests standards for every part of the consultant job description, ensuring the appointee to the post can deliver a safe and effective service to patients. 

To speak to the RCS about consultant job descriptions, please call us on 020 7405 3474.

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