SAS doctor Northern Ireland England Wales Applying for training

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Training opportunities for SAS doctors

As a SAS doctor it’s vital to remain up-to-date in your clinical skills and have fair access to training and development opportunities.

There are many options available all of which help to demonstrate your leadership skills and dedication to championing patient care.

Continued training and development is an important step in the ongoing campaign for improving recognition for SAS doctors.


Training and courses

Specialty specific training is available to help you to remain up to date in your clinical skills. This training is offered by the Royal Colleges and Deaneries.

As well as specialty specific training, SAS doctors should also have access to a wide range of training, to help in areas such as career development; leadership and teaching or interview skills. These should be available irrespective of whether you are seeking entry to the Specialist Register or returning to training.

BMJ Learning provide a variety of non-clinical e-learning modules to support your training needs. These are free for BMA members.


Funding of training and courses

Take a look at our SAS charters, developed with NHS employers and Royal Colleges, that help you understand what to expect from your employer and what your employer can expect of you.
  • All SAS doctors should have a study leave budget which provides funding for your CPD needs and other aspects of your development needs.
  • Development funding is also available to SAS doctors. This funding is separate and in addition to any existing study leave funding and contract implementation funding and should be used to provide additional resources and infrastructures to meet CPD, CME, revalidation and training needs. 

Suggested uses for development funding:

  • See our list of suggested uses for development funding
  • In England, each Trust should have a SAS Tutor who manages the Development Funding allocation for SAS doctors within that Trust, whom you can contact to discuss your training needs. Your HR department will be able to put you in touch with your SAS Tutor.
  • The Associate Deans for SAS doctors, who should have been appointed in every deanery, should also be able to assist. Use our interactive map to find your deanery

All SAS doctors should be provided with a minimum of one SPA to provide time for training and development.


Return to training

There are two ways in which SAS doctors can 'return to training':

  1. A doctor may apply for a job in a training grade via open competition and be accepted. In this situation the doctor will accept the placement and relinquish their current post. Terms and conditions for doctors in training will apply. In accordance with paragraphs 132 and 135 of the NHS Hospital Medical and Dental staff TCS a SAS doctor returning to training has the choice of receiving a training grade salary with appropriate banding or receiving a salary as if they were working on their career grade contract.
  2. To meet the requirements for entry to the Specialist Register (or where an employer recognises the additional value to the doctor and patients) a doctor may have the opportunity for a secondment from their current post to undertake top-up training. During secondment they will remain on their current contract and career grade terms and conditions of service. Such secondment opportunities are not expected to last longer than 12 months. Development funding may be used to provide locums to cover the period of the secondment.

Can training opportunities be guaranteed?

No, training opportunities are not guaranteed, and are determined by service requirements.

Portfolio development and discussions with employers will be crucial to accessing secondment opportunities but doctors are free to apply to re-enter training by applying for training posts in open competition with other doctors.


Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR)

Approximately 33% of SAS doctors aim to become consultants, applying for entry onto the Specialist Register through the CESR route.

The CESR application process is currently managed by the GMC and is available online.

Read our guidance on CESR


Other Career development tools