SAS doctor Job planning

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Job planning for Staff and Associate Specialist and Specialty doctors: Introduction

Taking part in job planning is an agreed requirement and fundamental aspect of the new contracts for Associate Specialists and Specialty Doctors as well as an integral part of Staff Grade and pre-2008 Associate Specialist contracts.


The purpose of job planning

A job plan should be a prospective agreement that sets out your duties, responsibilities and objectives (known as outcomes in Wales) for the coming year. In most cases, it will build upon the your existing NHS commitments. Job planning should be a systematic activity designed to produce clarity of expectation for you and your employer about the use of time and resources to meet individual and service objectives (outcomes).

Our short video highlights possible pitfalls in a job planning session and how to resolve them. When you've watched it make use of the job planning guidance below or download our new UK SAS job planning guide.

Job planning should be undertaken in a spirit of partnership and balance the needs of patients, the employer and the wider NHS with those of individual doctors. Within this context it is expected that all parties will participate openly in the process, and actively consider alternative ways of working, to enable service improvements to be introduced.


A prospective process

The job planning process needs to start by reviewing current activities in the light of future service needs to question what the individual or team is doing and whether such activities will meet the future requirements of the population served. This may be supported by the use of activity records or diaries.

The information gathered should be used to develop prospective job plans for teams and individuals. Where team job plans are developed these should be converted into individual job plans with the addition of personal objectives (outcomes).

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland there is no single model for a job plan. They take many forms, but all are expected to contain:

  • The doctors main duties and responsibilities
  • A schedule of commitments (where and when)
  • Personal objectives (outcomes) and their relationship with wider service objectives
  • The support and resources required to fulfil the agreed activities.

In Scotland, there is a model job plan which has been agreed as the format used by employers to record working arrangements under the Specialty Doctor and Associate Specialist (2008) contract.


Service development

The job planning process has a key role to play in creating more flexible NHS organisations, increasing capacity, improving resource utilisation, and measuring and enhancing productivity as well as helping to reduce any excessive working hours.

It is an opportunity to look at current working practices and to consider alternatives to deliver high quality services. Where changes and improvements can be implemented quickly these should be built into the job plans. Where it is not possible to do this, plans should be developed to make changes.


Find out more

Access all of our information on job planning for SAS doctors

Acting up

We support the voluntary uptake by SAS doctors of senior roles or responsibility believing that such experiences are a valuable developmental opportunity and that as senior clinicians, SAS doctors have the expertise and experience to work in these roles. SAS doctors taking up these roles must however be appropriately remunerated and adequately supported.

Read more about Acting up