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Consultant job planning

Guidance on supporting professional activities (SPAs) in the consultant job planning process.

This information is a summary of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) recommendations on SPAs in consultant job planning.


For details of the RCOG process for job plan review and approval please see here.


For details of the RCOG guidance for Advisory Appointment Committees see here

Definition of SPAs

SPAs reflect time spent undertaking activities that are essential to the long-term maintenance of the quality of the health service but don’t represent direct patient care, such as:

  • Teaching
  • Training
  • Education
  • Continuing professional development (CPD), including reading journals
  • Audit
  • Appraisal
  • Research
  • Clinical management
  • Clinical governance
  • Service development

SPAs shouldn’t include major additional NHS responsibilities such as those of a Medical Director or Clinical Director, Training Programme Director or Postgraduate Dean, or agreed external duties such as acting as an examiner, peer assessor, College/Department of Health (DH)/General Medical Council (GMC) work, etc.

AoMRC recommendations

The AoMRC recommends that:

  • New consultant posts should continue to be advertised with a job plan that typically includes 2.5 SPAs, with an expectation of annual review
  • If a consultant is employed with 2 or fewer SPAs, any problems with revalidation should lead to an urgent review of the SPA allocation

Support on job planning

Find support on job planning on the BMA website