COVID-19: your terms and conditions

Your terms and conditions: SAS doctors in England and Wales

Updated: Monday 7 September 2020
Topics: COVID 19, Contracts

SAS doctors are experienced clinicians working in secondary care and, during the COVID-19 crisis, they have demonstrated extraordinary levels of commitment, alongside other healthcare workers across the country. 



BMA and NHS Employers joint statement for SAS doctors in England


We're committed to ensuring that temporary working arrangements are only in place during the fight against coronavirus.


Read the joint statement and our guidance on it

As a SAS doctor, the contractual issues you are likely to face will be the same as those experienced by your consultant colleagues. Read our guidance for consultants on contractual issues arising from the response to COVID-19. It covers questions on:

  • working on bank holidays and TOIL
  • the value of SPA (supporting professional activities) time in responding to the crisis
  • cancellation of SPA time/activity
  • how to adapt to COVID-19 in terms of training and practice
  • changes to working patterns
  • providing cover for absent colleagues
  • providing cover for junior colleagues (‘acting down’).

Providing cover for a senior colleague (‘acting up’)

You should only act within your existing competencies. If you are working at different levels, you should be paid appropriately.

Acting up can be a positive opportunity for professional career development. However, while acting up, you should still expect to be appropriately remunerated in line with the level of work you are delivering.

This will either be through the payment of an acting up allowance (as for associate specialists) or through a specific agreement to ensure appropriate levels pay. Read our guidance for SAS doctors acting up.



In recognition of the support provided by SAS doctors during the COVID pandemic, the Welsh Government, NHS Wales Employers and the BMA agreed the advisory notice on speciality doctor and associate specialist pay for out of hours work in April 2020.

The enhanced rates paid (or recognised in a sessional time reduction) under schedule 8 of the specialty doctor and associate specialist terms and conditions of service for out of hours work were increased for SAS doctors as follows, with all other terms and conditions of service remaining the same.

Time Individual’s standard hourly rate
Monday - Friday, 7pm - 7am 1.5
Friday, 7pm - Monday, 7am 2
Bank holidays 2

These rates apply to all SAS doctors regardless of whether or not they agreed to work amended hours as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These enhanced rates should be paid from 1 April until 31 July 2020, whether already in your job plan or agreed on a temporary basis to assist during the pandemic.

From 1 August 2020 onwards, these rates will still apply if you are required to work amended hours/job plans in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic response.

This should be an exceptional circumstance and clear arrangements should be in place for you to revert to your pre-COVID schedule 8 enhanced rates of 1 1/3x your standard hourly rate, or a reduction in the timetabled value of the session to three hours.

If you have already agreed a rate higher than the agreed enhanced rates, then the higher rate should apply.

Enhanced rates payment

Every health board has been informed of this agreement by Welsh Government and further agreement has been reached with every LNC regarding implementation. We would expect payments to be being made.

Some health boards have experienced delays in arranging payments of the enhanced rates during the pandemic. This should have been communicated to you, and a clear date for payment given. If raising the issue with your health board payroll team has not resulted in your being correctly paid, please contact the BMA

We recommend that you keep a diary of all hours worked during this time. You can use either the Dr Diary app or keep a paper diary. This should allow you to check on any payments received.

If you think your health board has not applied the enhanced payments correctly, get in touch with one of our advisers, or consider raising the issue with your LNC if you believe the issue to be widespread in your health board. 

Need help? For 24/7 emergency COVID advice please call us. For all other non-emergency enquiries normal opening times apply.