Contract SAS doctor

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How much SPA time am I entitled to?

SAS doctors working full time

Having difficulty accessing SPA time? Every SAS doctor is entitled to a minimum of one SPA.

Call our employment advisers on 0300 123 1233 or write to them for advice and support.

Contractually all SAS doctors are entitled to a minimum of 1 SPA. The precise balance between SPA time and other work will be determined locally and set out in the doctor's job plan. This is explained in Schedule 4 of the new TCS.

Some SAS doctors have negotiated the same SPA time as their consultant colleagues and this will depend on experience and career level. We would suggest that the majority of SAS doctors over threshold 2 of the Specialty Doctor contract and anyone on the AS contract would require a minimum of 2 SPAs. 

This is as per good practice guidance in Wales (produced by the Welsh Assembly Government) which advocates 20% of time for SPAs for all SAS doctors.


SAS doctors working part time

Part-time SAS doctors have a contractual right to a minimum of 1 SPA as per full-timers (see schedule 4 of the new TCS). You should check with your LNC whether any local agreement has been made on this issue.

Part-timers have the same development needs and will also need to revalidate in the same way as your full-time colleagues. Hence you will require similar time for supporting activities. Some doctors working very few PAs have individually negotiated less than 1 SPA but we are of the opinion that all have the right (and indeed need) to one or more, irrespective of the number of PAs you work. 

This is important for skills maintenance and patient safety as well as career development.


SAS doctors on non-standard contracts

It is expected that SAS doctors on non-standard contracts are also given adequate protected time for non-standard development.


What is included in SPA time?

Activities undertaken in supporting professional activity time underpin Direct Clinical Care Work, and might include (but are not restricted to) participation in:

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.

Continuing professional development

  • Educational meetings (lunch-time and evening) and associated paperwork e.g. applying for CPD certificates with records of educational meetings attended and CPD points
  • Reading and other self study, on-line learning or CPD Modules, Postgraduate Meetings, Peer Meetings (Specialty and Locality), External Training Events (lectures, courses, conferences, case presentations, journal clubs)
  • Meeting requirements as set by the appropriate Royal College
  • Review of papers for journals
  • Business travel time (as necessary e.g. for a CPD, training event, audit, research outside your place of work).


Teaching and training

  • General teaching, lectures and tutorials for medical students and junior doctors
  • Journal clubs
  • Tutorials, Problem Based Learning, In and Out-patient learning sessions
  • Work as an OSCE examiner
  • Case summary guidance
  • Occasional project supervision
  • Post graduate supervision of junior medical staff on the consultant's team - formal timetabled sessions and daily support and advice
  • Staff Grade/ Specialty Doctor supervision (if applicable)
  • Writing references
  • Mentor for students on the medical course - scheduled meetings twice a year and as necessary
  • Organising and delivering teaching for nursing staff, to allow them to achieve nationally necessary competencies
  • Reading and commenting on updated teaching materials prepared by colleagues
  • Marking medical student essays
  • Teaching and examining for postgraduate exams and diplomas
  • Grade feedback meetings with medical students
  • Writing presentations for unit teaching and other meetings
  • Undergraduate teaching and examinations - PBL, contribution to Special Study Modules, regular tutorials for MBChB students, examiner in MBChB, OSCE and final examinations
  • Adviser of Studies to MBChB students
  • Teaching trainees (as applicable)
  • Contribution to clinical handbooks
  • Voluntary Organisation and Carers & Users' Groups Teaching
  • GP and Psychological Services Teaching
  • Teaching non medical staff e.g. AHPs, Pharmacists and Nursing Staff
  • Leading a memory clinic for staff


General teaching, lectures and tutorials for medical students and junior doctors

  • Clinical Management or Educational activities
  • Educational supervision-ST trainees
  • Assessment and appraisal of trainees
  • Revising/rewriting junior doctors' induction pack
  • Departmental teaching meetings and preparation
  • Membership of Medical Education Committee
  • Writing business plans
  • Liaising with PCT over shared care pathways



  • Supervision of audit (ie Directing and supporting trainees' audit projects)
  • Planning individual or department audit projects
  • On-line assessment of audit mortality notes
  • Scrutinising internal audit data


Job planning

  • including diary keeping and completing job planning paperwork
  • Annual job plan review with manager
  • Job planning reviews for SAS colleagues if a clinical manager



  • Collation of information for appraisal folder and preparation of the paperwork
  • Annual appraisal meeting
  • Appraiser of SAS colleagues e.g. doing appraisals and associated paperwork
  • Appraising consultants and associated paperwork
  • Training SAS doctors on the appraisal process
  • Writing guidance on appraisal



  • Meeting requirements as set by the GMC Research
  • Research projects


Contribution to service management and planning

  • Divisional meetings and associated work
  • Reading and disseminating management guidelines and policies
  • Clinical Policy Forum work
  • Local specialty advisory committee membership
  • Organising locum cover for junior doctors
  • Staff interviews, including short-listing
  • Developing a policy on intrathecal medicines for the health board, delegated by the medical director
  • medical committee (Scotland) and hospital subcommittee duties, including meetings and preparation
  • Medical staff committee/association duties, including meetings and preparation
  • Rota design, planning and management, including for Working Time Regulations compliance
  • Management meetings about Working Time Regulations
  • Directorate meetings or other unpaid directorate work
  • Meetings on Medical Specialty Training (MST) Communications Strategy
  • Reading and replying to emails about department and Trust related 'management' matters
  • Hospital at Night and junior doctors' support group meetings
  • Membership of Departmental Management Teams
  • Lead Clinician roles
  • Updating unit documentation and patient information
  • Dealing with complaints, clinical incident investigations and critical incident reviews
  • Discussions and strategy planning meetings on the NHS reforms


Clinical Governance and management activities

  • Managed Clinical Network Activities
  • National Panel list for AS appointments
  • Secretary of local specialist society involving organisation of educational meetings, plus minutes, CPD certification, paperwork etc.
  • Participation in local clinical governance committees
  • Participation in local and national guideline groups


Any other relevant activities

  • BMA (including LNC) work involving local and national meetings, regular e-mail correspondence, reading of related documentation in preparation for meetings, etc. Participation in discretionary/optional points committees as BMA representative or external member CESR
  • evaluator for a Royal College MMC committees, including specialty boards for training UK
  • National External Quality Assurance Steering Group for CSF Biochemistry UK National Quality
  • Assurance Advisory Panel Officer role in national specialist societies Membership of Area
  • Partnership Forum BMA (including LNC) work involving local and national meetings, regular e-mail correspondence, reading of related documentation in preparation for meetings, etc.