SPECIMEN JOB DESCRIPTION:
CONSULTANT MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGIST
Comments on this document are welcome at any time and should be addressed to
The Royal College of Pathologists and the Association of Medical Microbiologists
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TITLE OF EMPLOYING ORGANISATION
TITLE OF POST
State that the post is a whole time, part-time or sessional number (insert as appropriate) Consultant Microbiologist to the insert title of
employing body (NHS Trust/hospital/HPA, etc.). State whether the appointee is expected to have a special interest or is expected to develop
such an interest to complement the other consultants.
State whether the post is a new or a replacement post. If new, the reason for the new post and any intended developments should be described.
If part of a managed network, briefly give relevant information. If the role of infection control doctor (ICD) and/or Director of Infection
Prevention and Control (DIPC) is included, this should be stated here.
State that if the person appointed elects to undertake a maximum part-time contract, they will be required to devote substantially the whole of
their professional time to the duties of the post.
State that any candidate who is unable for personal reasons to work full-time will be eligible to be considered for the post. If such a person
is appointed, modification of the job content will be discussed on a personal basis with the Trust/hospital in consultation with consultant
Qualifications and experience
Candidates for the post must be registered medical practitioners and on the Specialist Register of the GMC or be eligible to be on the
specialist register within three months of the date of the Advisory Appointments Committee (AAC). It is expected that the appointee will
hold the MRCPath or show evidence of equivalent training and experience.
Suitably qualified candidates may be eligible for an honorary academic appointment with the University of …..
The employing body (NHS Trust/Hospital) (general information)
Population and area served
Give details of the geographical boundaries of the area served by the Trust/hospital [network or Regional HPA laboratory], the population served
and demographics. Also give transport and other communication links of the area and Trust/hospital and details of local attractions, including
opportunities for leisure pursuits, housing and schools.
The NHS Trust/hospital
Give a description of the hospital(s) served and its/their work, including details of the clinical specialties, whether or not there is an accident and
emergency service, details of surgical, medical, paediatric, obstetrics and gynaecology, oncology units, other specialist units, etc. and planned
developments. Suggest include information on the Strategic Health Authority, local Health Protection Units and local Primary Care Trusts served.
Include local authorities served where appropriate.
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Give details of undergraduate and postgraduate medical schools and/or links with local universities. The relevant school and numbers of
academic staff and key research interests should be given.
The library and postgraduate education facilities
Details of the library facilities and postgraduate education facilities should be provided, including facilities for computer gateways to medical
databases. Details of video conferencing should be included if available.
If this is a Health Protection Agency appointment, and/or the laboratory is a HPA Collaborating Laboratory give relevant information on the local
and regional HPA structure.
The Pathology Directorate
Details should be provided of the Trust/hospital’s management structure, showing the position of the Pathology Directorate, details of the
departments included in the Pathology Directorate and how it interlinks with other directorates. The details of how the individual departments
are housed and whether they are in new or refurbished laboratories should be given. Hospitals and Trusts (including primary care) served by the
laboratory should be detailed, including any regional services offered. An outline description of the individual departments within the Directorate,
including the consultant complement, should be provided. Associations with universities/research units should be detailed.
Give details of working relationships within the Directorate, e.g. The Director of Pathology is appointed by the Chief Executive and the Medical
Director of the Trust. All consultants are eligible to be Director of Pathology and they will be appointed by the following process ….. If a HPA
appointment and/or an HPA laboratory, describe the relationship to the directorate.
If the pathology department is part of a managed pathology network, details should be given of the scope of the network, constituent laboratories
and management/accountability arrangements.
The microbiology department [and/or HPA laboratory]
The region and community for which services are provided
A brief description of the services provided by the microbiology laboratory, including virology and food and environmental services. Details of the
hospitals/trusts, clinics or other premises, and community (general practice and primary care trusts) to which the service is provided locally.
Satellite hospitals and other trusts served and the clinical departments in those other trusts should be detailed. If a HPA Collaborating
Laboratory, provide information on the services provided to the HPA and relationship with other HPA services locally.
Include regional or supraregional services if any are provided, details of other microbiology laboratories from which referrals for investigation
or advice are received, and/or any specialist (reference) service provided to other laboratories within or outside a managed network.
Details of services the department obtains from elsewhere.
Relationship to university and/or medical school if relevant. The relationship to clinical medical microbiology and academic departments of
medical microbiology and virology, and to any HPA laboratory serving the region.
Relationships with environmental health officers (EHOs), CCDCs/consultants in health protection and other agencies e.g. local Health
Protection Unit and HPA further a field should be indicated.
Any likely developments that may affect the service in the future.
Accreditation and quality assurance
A statement of the accreditation status of the department with Clinical Pathology Accreditation (UK) Ltd, UKAS and/or other organisation
accrediting laboratories to an equivalent standard should be made. Participation in all relevant external quality assurance (EQA) schemes should
also be mentioned.
Laboratory clinical and health protection workload
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The sources of current workload should be shown in detail.
Type of activity Requests in year
Food, water and environmental microbiology
Annual numbers of specimens and their sources.
The workload data should be meaningfully broken down to specify, for example, bacteriology, virology, and parasitology. The workload and
arrangements for food, water and environmental microbiology should be specified where appropriate. State the proportion of workload from
Include regular departmental commitments to specific units e.g. intensive care (adult and neonatal) haematology/oncology, medical/surgical
admission units, regular and/or ad hoc visits to wards, support for cancer services, departmental commitment to infection control and support
for the local Health Protection Unit.
Also mention regular departmental commitments to committees such as pathology users, drugs and therapeutical, hospital and community
infection control, pathology directorate, regional epidemiology.
For HPA appointments to Regional HPA laboratories, details should be provided of the region and service provision to NHS laboratories.
Consultant workload and staffing in medical microbiology and virology, Report of a working group of The Royal College of Pathologist (April 2001
– on www.rcpath.org/publications), will be helpful in assessing the number of staff required to deal with this workload.
Laboratory accommodation and equipment
Provide information on where is it, how much space, any specialised equipment, laboratory computer system and links with internet, etc.
Where a consultant medical microbiologist post has primary clinical responsibilities at one hospital but laboratory facilities at another site, the
issue of facilities (office, secretary and PC, etc.) at each site needs to be considered, as does the apportionment at each site.
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All departmental staff should be listed and equated to whole-time equivalents, to include:
consultant medical staff
specialist registrars and other trainee medical staff
non-consultant career grade staff.
Names, qualifications and information about additional responsibilities of senior laboratory staff should be provided, including consultants,
NCCGs and laboratory manager/head BMS.
The Head of Department/Lead Clinician should be identified and the mechanism for appointment.
In some Trusts/hospitals, the Directorate structure has moved away from the traditional role of Consultant Head of Department with managerial
responsibility. In such situations, managerial responsibility may a function of a Directorate Team, consisting of Clinical Director, Directorate
Manager, and finance and human resources departments. Whatever the organisational structure, the job description should clearly define roles
and responsibilities of the post offered, and the key inter-relationships with those responsible for the departmental budget and the appointment
For a consultant appointed as Head of Department (with managerial responsibility)
The person appointed will be Head of the Department/Laboratory Director and will have managerial responsibility for the work of the
department, including responsibility for the departmental budget and the appointment of staff within the department. The line of
accountability will depend on the management structure of the employing authority, but the appointee will usually be accountable to the
Clinical Director of Pathology or, in HPA laboratories, to the regional microbiologist.
Although a consultant Head of Department may delegate certain managerial responsibilities to senior staff within the department he/she will
remain accountable overall for those duties to the appropriate manager. These management arrangements should be consistent with the
Strategic Review of Pathology Services, notably paragraphs 4.22 to 4.26. (In Wales WHC (IS) 27). The number of planned activities (PAs) allocated
to this role should be detailed in the job plan. State if any specific payments or allowances apply.
For a consultant responsible to a Head of Department/Director/Clinical Director
The person appointed will have such administrative or managerial duties as may be delegated by the Head of Department/Clinical Director.
Division of responsibilities and lead roles (e.g. Head of Department/lead clinician, laboratory direction, infection control, antimicrobial
prescribing, virology, food and environmental services) should be stated and whether these change with mutual agreement.
Include information on the infection control team(s) including DIPC, ICD(s), ICN(s) and support staff (clerical, data management and IT), the
accountability of team members and budget, including details of budget holder. The number of programmed activities funded and contracted by
the various Trust(s) (including Primary Care, if relevant) and brief description of the level of service offered should be described. The number of
PAs dedicated by the appointee to infection control should be detailed in the job plan. The contribution made by other laboratory medical staff to
Infection Control activities should also be stated, where appropriate.
Provide a detailed explanation of who is the Trust/hospital infection control doctor, how they are appointed, and how infection control duties are
covered on a 24-hour basis. The Director of Infection Prevention and Control (DIPC) is a strategic role with responsibility to the Chief Executive
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for overseeing the Trust/hospital’s performance relating to infection prevention and control issues. Details should be given regarding the
working relationships between the DIPC, the ICD and other consultant medical microbiologists.
Communicable disease control/health protection
information on the ccdc/Consultants in Health Protection and their local HPU including ICN(s) and details of any links the appointee will be
expected to maintain with local and regional departments of epidemiology and health protection. For an HPA post, details should be provided of
any national, regional or sub-regional responsibilities of the post.
Note the presence of suitable individual office accommodation, the availability of a personal computer linked to the laboratory network and the
internet and suitable secretarial support (0.5 wte minimum).
The duties of the post
The appointee will, together with ………….. consultant colleagues (specify numbers of microbiology, virology) be responsible for the provision of a
comprehensive, efficient, and cost-effective clinical microbiology, virology and infection control service to the Trust and other users of the
service including the HPA. Specify any areas that the appointee will have primary responsibility for. If the department has a consultant virologist,
the arrangements to support specialist virology services in the absence of that person should be stated. If the department does not have a
consultant virologist, state how specialist virology services are accessed when required.
Liaison in a timely manner with clinicians, hospital staff, medical microbiologists, general practitioners and health protection consultants
concerning the diagnosis and management of patients, control and prevention of infections including the provision of telephone advice.
Taking a leadership role within the Trust/hospital in matters relating to infection management.
Provide information on regular commitments to wards/departments/unit e.g. ward rounds, multi-disciplinary team (MDT) and other
clinical or audit meetings (including commitments to, for example, drugs and therapeutics, and other non-infection control committees. If
clinics are undertaken, then this should be stated.
State the appointee will take equal (or appropriate share) of responsibility for departmental commitments. Specify if the individual is
expected to have any particular area of responsibility.
All consultants will be expected to contribute to the following:
day-to-day supervision of diagnostic methods and examination of specimens
authorisation and interpretation of results
involvement in policy and SOP preparation
responsibility for quality assurance performance within the department, including taking part in all relevant national external quality
assurance (NEQAS) programmes
responsibility for achieving and maintaining full accreditation with Clinical Pathology Accreditation (UK) Ltd, or an equivalent agency
business planning, including the assessment and introduction of new methods, and forward planning for staff and equipment
An indication of the time spent on authorisation and interpretation of results should be provided.
Compliance with health and safety and security requirements and with agreed SOPs and investigational algorithms should be stated.
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Providing advice on hospital policies for infection control, risk assessment and management of accidental exposures to infection.
Cooperation with ICD, infection control teams and DIPC on a local or regional basis (as required), including liaison with the relevant health
protection staff in the investigation and prevention of communicable diseases in the community. Assist in the investigation and control of
Give information on specific committees that the appointee will be expected to be a member of, or any specific duties that the appointee
will be expected to perform.
If this post is also ICD, further details should be provided as an appendix to the job description. This should include information on scope of the
infection control service, Trusts supported, duties and responsibilities of the ICD, accountability, and relationship with Head of Microbiology
Laboratory, DIPC and Trust Executive. Copies of Service Level Agreements with other organisations for the provision of infection control services
or, as a minimum, an outline of services to be delivered, should be included.
If this post is also DIPC, further details should be provided as an appendix to the job description. This should include information on, duties and
responsibilities of the DIPC, accountability and relationships with the Head of Microbiology Laboratory, IC tTeam, Trust/hospital clinical
governance structure, Trust/Hospital Executive and Board.
Provision of surveillance data to HPA at local, regional and national levels and participation in sentinel or enhanced surveillance activities is
Out of hours
Specify participation in the out of hours service including frequency with which the individual will be on call, and whether they are expected to
work routinely in the laboratory or visit the hospital on Saturday and/or Sunday. Specify the arrangements for time off in lieu. State the agreed
on call pay banding (A or B) for this post. (If A banding, immediate availability is expected; if B banding, calls are not normally of a complex nature,
and short periods of non-availability may be negotiated). If cross cover is provided for other institutions, either in normal hours or out-of-hours,
Clinical governance and audit
The arrangements for clinical governance and the appointee’s participation should be outlined.
The appointee will be expected to participate in multidisciplinary clinical audit, and in the implementation of an on-going clinical audit programme
within the department. (Note any established audit cycles.)
The appointee will also be expected to provide advice in development of clinical guidelines, investigation protocols, laboratory SOPs and guidance
on the appropriate use of antimicrobials, for to the clinical units supported. There should also be a statement that time and facilities will be
Teaching and training
Include supervision and training of medical staff in medical microbiology and virology, teaching of undergraduate medical students,
postgraduates and others, both locally and regionally as appropriate. An outline of any existing teaching/training programmes for medical,
clinical scientist and BMS staff should be given.
Note the department’s accreditation status for training of BMS staff and/or trainee medical pathologists.
Note the maintenance of an in-service training/educational programme for all staff in the department.
Research and development
Research and development relevant to the microbiology service, Directorate and Trust/Hospital [or HPA] priorities is expected, and
collaboration with clinical colleagues in approved research projects.
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There should be a statement about the opportunities for research and development, and what time will be available for this. This should
include reference to the existing R&D portfolio or task led funding of the institution.
Prioritisation and funding applications for introduction of new technology or methods of working within the service.
Contribute to management within the Trust/hospital, via the Directorate structure [and/or within the HPA]. Act as custodian of data under
the Data Protection Act, and custodian of stored samples. Service and administrative duties on various committees, which may include the
following: Hospital/ Trust/PCT Infection Control Committees; Directorate of Pathology or equivalent; consultant medical staff committee.
The appointee will be expected to participate in clinical audit and to be registered for continuing professional development (CPD) with The
Royal College of Pathologists (or equivalent body, e.g. Faculty of Public Health or The Royal College of Physicians) and to fulfil requirements
for annual certification and for appropriate revalidation. Time, facilities and financial support for study leave and CPD should be specified.
A personal development plan must be agreed annually with the Director of the Service.
The job plan should indicate sufficient PAs are allocated for supporting professional activities (normally 2.5 PAs in a whole time 10 PA
Arrangements for annual and study leave
State the arrangements for covering the absence of the consultant and his/her colleagues during annual and study leave.
Include a provisional job plan (guidelines are available).
A timetable of the regular weekly duties should be provided (see Appendix 1), including average time (in hours) allocated to each duty and the
location where it is performed. This may be illustrative of a usual week’s pattern, or may be annualised to reflect the typically flexible nature of
consultant microbiologists’ work patterns. Any fixed commitments should be defined. Attendance on specific ward rounds (e.g.
haematology/oncology rounds) should be emphasised, as should time spent on authorising results and providing clinical and health protection
advisory and support service (by telephone or in person). Examples of activities that may be designated as fixed sessions (which may well be
worked flexibly) include authorisation and clinical advice, case conferences and laboratory rounds, daily ward rounds on specific wards, infection
control activities and on call.
The commitment to on call and weekend working should be specified. No one should be expected currently to be on call routinely more than one
in two (job description expecting one in one will not be approved) and the intention is that in time, no consultant microbiologist should be required
routinely to be on call more frequently than one in three.
Where there is a mismatch between staffing and workload, include a statement that priorities’ and the level of service provision will be agreed
State the policy for annual appraisal and review of the job plan. Give the name and position of the intended appraiser if known. Describe the policy
for relaying key issues arising from the appraisal process to the Clinical Director and Medical Director. Describe the local procedures to be
followed if it is not possible to agree a job plan, either following appointment or at annual review
Main conditions of service
Insert standard wording for all consultant posts in Trust/hospital.
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Give the arrangements for visiting the Trust, either prior to short listing or prior to interview.
List the personnel who may be contacted by candidates: this should include the Chief Executive, Medical Director, laboratory medicine director
and head of microbiology service
This should be attached. See the model person specification.
The Royal College of Pathologists advises that applicants who are specialist registrars not yet on the GMC Specialist Register must have obtained
the MRCPath by examination in order to be shortlistable for a consultant grade post. It also advises that suitable signed documentary evidence
must be provided by such applicants to confirm that they are within six months (i.e. six months beforehand) of being included on the GMC
Specialist Register at the date of the interview. The documentary evidence should be:
either a RITA Form G (Final Record of Satisfactory Progress) or a letter from the Postgraduate Dean (or Regional Adviser) specifying the date
for completion of training
a letter from The Royal College of Pathologists confirming that the applicant has fully passed the MRCPath Part 2 examination.
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Appendix 1 Job plan
A model job plan for the post should be appended to the job description indicating the range of duties performed, the hours spend in each
component as direct clinical care, supporting professional activities, additional responsibilities and other duties where appropriate. It should
include information about the frequency and banding of on call. Due to the flexible work patterns of most medical microbiologists, it is
recommended that an annualised job plan is provided, with a note to indicate that duties are performed flexibly to meet the needs and demands
of the service. An example week may also be given to give an indication of fixed commitments.
This generic job plan may be modified following agreement on changes between the appointee and their medical manager.
The following formats may be used:
Consultant job plan
Annualised job plan for medical microbiology
Type of activity Description Average number Number of
of hours per week PAs per week
A) Direct clinical care
i) Emergency duties
Average emergency work per week likely to arise from Allocation of PAs
A or B
iii) Ward rounds:
Give details of regular commitments
a) iv) Clinical diagnostic work:
a) Laboratory authorisation and clinical advice
b) Authorisation and clinical advice on antibiotic
c) Phone calls
d) Service development
V) Other patient treatment including routine
Vi) Public health duties
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vii) Direct care meetings
Infection control, clinical handover meetings, etc.
viii) Admin. directly relating to above
b) Supporting professional activities
Identify any training activities, frequency and duration
ii) Medical education:
Identify medical education activities
Consultant study leave
v) Job planning
viii) Clinical management
C) Additional NHS responsibilities
DIPC, ICD, Clinical Director, Lead clinician, College Tutor,
d) External duties
Work for RCPath, AMM, etc.
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Typical weekly job plan
Day Time Location Work Categorisation Hours
activity to be
SUMMARY OF PROGRAMMED ACTIVITY Number
Supporting professional activities
Direct clinical care (including unpredictable on-call)
Other NHS responsibilities
Total programmed activities
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Appendix 2 Infection control doctor – duties and responsibilities
Accountability Managerially – Chief Executive
(possibly through an intermediate level manager, but direct access to the
Chief Executive on important/urgent issues is essential)
Professionally – Medical Director (and Laboratory Director)
Liases with Infection control team
Microbiology laboratory staff
Director of Infection Prevention and Control
Consultants in health protection/CCDC
Clinical and nursing colleagues
Other microbiology colleagues
Occupational health department
Other services (domestic, catering, estates, etc.)
Administrative duties Lead role in the day-to-day effective functioning of infection control
Prepare and present annual programme and annual plans
Be member of risk/governance committee
Advise and support clinical effectiveness committee
Advise and support Laboratory Director/Pathology Director/Trust Medical Directors in regards to infection
The infection control doctor will subject to agreement on priorities, and within the time and resources allocated in the contract:
act as a leader of the infection control team, which will include the infection control nurse(s)
advise and support the ICN in day-to-day activities
advise and support the DIPC on all aspects of infection control in the hospital and on implementation of agreed policies
act as Chair or to be an active member of the Hospital Infection Control Committee
serve as a specialist adviser (NHS Executive (1995) Hospital infection Control: Guidance on the control of Infection in hospitals prepared
by the joint DH/PHLS) on all matters relating to hospital infection control. Such matters include surveillance and control aspects of
hospital infection, sterilisation and disinfection methods, types of ventilation, operating theatres, isolation facilities, kitchens, laundries,
housekeeping, waste disposal, pest control, antibiotic usage and infection control aspects of nursing procedures
advise and contribute to the planning and implementation of relevant activities required to achieve the Trusts aims and objectives and
NHS standards and the Healthcare Commission criteria
contribute to the planning, delivery and implementation of standards required to achieve CNST to level appropriate to Trust
investigate outbreaks of hospital infection as described in the NHS Executive (1995) Hospital infection Control: Guidance on the control
of Infection in hospitals, prepared by the joint DH/PHLS. Close liaison with the Consultant for Communicable Disease Control (CCDC) will
be necessary as detailed in this guidance
prepare and update policies, together with other relevant personnel, in relation to hospital infection control, e.g. disinfection,
decontamination, sterilisation, isolation, patient care procedures, pre-employment screening, fitness to work and immunisation
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participate in the preparation of tender documents for support services and advise on infection aspects of these services following
award of a contract
be involved in the planning and upgrading of hospital facilities
be involved in the setting of quality standards with regard to hospital infections and in audits of infection
support and contribute to the training of medical students, medical and nursing staff and other health care workers of all grades
liaise with other infection control doctors and CsCDC/consultants in health protection in developing PCT and SHA-wide infection control
provide, in conjunction with microbiology colleagues, a 24-hour infection control medical on- call service.
The relationship with PCTs and Health Protection Unit and the arrangements for community infection control should be described, so it is clear
who does it, and how it is managed. Include details of Service Level Agreements between the employing authority and any other relevant
organisations on infection control issues.
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Appendix 3 Director of Infection Prevention and Control
Duties and responsibilities
This document should clearly state management arrangements for infection control activities within the Trust, the relationship between ICD and
DIPC and the lines of accountability of each role.
Accountability : Managerially to the Chief Executive
Professionally to the Medical Director.
Liases with: Trust Executives
Infection control team
Consultant in health protection
Clinical and nursing colleagues
DIPC’s of neighbouring organisations.
Duties and responsibilities (DoH publication, Winning ways: working together to reduce healthcare associated infection in England, 2003):
oversee local control of infection policies and their implementation
oversee Trust/hospital's performance relating to infection prevention and control issues
report directly to the Chief Executive and the Board and not through any other officer
support the infection control team in all its activities
have the authority to challenge inappropriate clinical hygiene practice as well as antibiotic prescribing decisions
assess the impact of all existing and new policies and plans on infection and make recommendations for change
be an integral member of the organisation's clinical governance and patient safety teams and structures
produce an annual report on the state of healthcare associated infection in the organisation(s) for which he/she is responsible
and release it publicly.
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