SAS doctors in England to vote on improved pay offer    

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Published: Thursday 16 May 2024
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The BMA has secured an improved pay offer for specialist, associate specialist, and specialty (SAS) doctors in England, following a fresh round of talks with the Government, which the SAS committee is recommending members vote to accept.     

The first offer was roundly rejected by members when they voted on it earlier this year, with 62.3% of respondents saying it didn’t go far enough.    

Since then, the BMA’s SAS Committee has been negotiating for an improved offer, one that would benefit all SAS doctors. 

The new offer will mean SAS doctors on open contracts see an increase of between 9.5-19.4% since 2022/23. It also offers a consolidated uplift of £1400 to each pay point for SAS doctors on closed contracts on top of the 6% awarded from the DDRB for 2023/24.

The offer will also begin to address unfavourable differences in the pay, which stem from SAS doctors historically being on different contracts, and it includes proposals to improve the career progression.

SAS members of the BMA will now have from 31st May to 14th June to vote on the revised offer.     

Dr Ujjwala Mohite, chair of the SAS UK Committee, said:

“SAS doctors told us loud and clear that the Government’s first offer wasn’t good enough. We’ve since been back in conversation with ministers and, after weeks of intense negotiation, secured an offer that we feel will be acceptable to members.   

“Not many people know who SAS doctors are, but they are essential to the running of the NHS. SAS doctors are senior and highly experienced healthcare professionals who, for a variety of reasons, decided not to go down the traditional consultant or GP pathway. The majority work in hospitals, alongside junior doctors and consultants. However, years of pay erosion and poor working conditions are forcing many of these talented professionals out of the health service.   

“Today’s offer shows how far SAS doctors have come in the fight to restore their value, with improved pay scales for those on newer contracts, consolidated uplifts for those on older ones, and recognition that LEDs need better job security.  

“We will be providing further information to our members about this new offer, so they can decide whether to accept it.”    




Notes to editors


The full offer:  


  • Preserves the revised pay scales for those on open, 2021 terms and conditions, with basic additional pay uplifts of between 6.1% and 9.22% from their current level (dependent on pay point). 

  • This begins to address the unfavourable differences in basic pay between the closed and open contracts. 

  • Couple with uplifts from 23/24, these doctors would see an increase of between 9.5% and 19.4% in their basic pay since 2022/3. 

  • Offers a consolidated £1,400 uplift to each pay point to SAS doctors on closed contracts.  

  • Back-dates pay to April 2024, lifting baseline for future DDRB recommendations (as any 2024/25 DDRB uplift would be on top of this) 

  • Preserves the commitment to work to improve terms and conditions of locally employed doctors (LEDs), including exploration of means to move them onto national contracts, or else make their local contracts permanent  

  • Includes proposals to improve career progression for SAS doctors. 


SAS doctors are employed on various types of contracts. 


Open national contracts – these include specialty doctors and specialists on 2021 contracts. Both new entrants to the national contracts and those on closed national contracts would move onto these open terms and conditions.  


Closed national contracts – these include specialty doctors and associate specialists and other SAS doctors who are on the 2008 or pre-2008 SAS contracts. SAS doctors cannot move onto closed national contracts. 


Local contracts – these are produced by specific Trusts. While they can have terms and conditions that mirror national contracts, but don’t necessarily have the same contractual protections. There are concerns that some locally employed doctors are stuck on a series of fixed term contracts, while others are working at a level commensurate with a SAS grade but are not being provided with the appropriate terms and conditions.  


Those on 2021 SAS contracts were excluded from two rounds of DDRB pay uplifts, due to being on a multi-year pay deal that was agreed in 2021. Inflation rates soared after this deal was agreed, and while those on closed contracts were awarded higher pay uplifts accordingly (e.g. 6% in 2022/23), this was not matched for those on the open contracts. While Government made a concession in 2023/24 and accepted the DDRB’s recommendation to give these doctors 3% on top of the agreed multi-year pay deal uplift, this did not undo the damage created by the previous exclusion.  



The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.