SAS doctors in England vote to accept Government pay offer

Press release from the BMA. 

Location: England
Published: Tuesday 18 June 2024
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The BMA’s SAS UK Committee – which represents specialist, associate specialist, and specialty doctors – has accepted the Government’s latest pay offer for England.

In a referendum, 79% of SAS members voted to accept the offer and this has now been accepted by the committee, on behalf of the profession.   

This is the second pay offer presented to the BMA’s SAS UK Committee, after the first one was roundly rejected by members when 62% of respondents felt the deal did not go far enough.

The new offer means SAS doctors on 2021 contracts in England will see an annual increase of between 9.5 and 19.4%. It also offers a consolidated uplift of £1,400 to each pay point for SAS doctors on 2008 contracts, which is provided on top of the 6% awarded for 2023/24*. 

The offer also includes proposals to improve career progression and the contracts of locally employed doctors. These are doctors who are employed by hospital trusts on local terms and conditions, rather than nationally agreed terms and conditions. 

While the revised offer is an improvement, it does not address all of the concerns raised by the committee in negotiations with the Government. This means that while this dispute is formally over, the BMA will continue to push for further improvements to SAS doctors’ pay and career development. For example, further movement on pay restoration and a clear mechanism to help specialty doctors progress to specialist roles. The BMA's SAS UK committee will continue to represent the interests of members at the earliest opportunity after the general election with the newly elected Government.

Dr Ujjwala Mohite, chair of the BMA’s SAS UK Committee, said: “We entered this dispute with the Government almost a year ago, and today’s result is a step in the right direction in restoring SAS doctors’ value in the NHS. 

“Not many people have heard of SAS doctors or know what they do, but they are absolutely crucial to the running of the health service. They are experienced, senior doctors who for a variety of reasons, didn’t go down the traditional GP or consultant training pathway. They usually work in hospitals, delivering expert care alongside junior doctors and consultants.  

“However, a combination of burnout, eroded pay, stunted career progression, and being taken for granted by the Government has seen many forced to leave the NHS altogether. Many SAS doctors also suffer from grade-ism – the idea that, because they don’t fit into the traditional pathways, they are somehow not as important. 

“That’s why, even though today marks significant progress in helping to keep more SAS doctors in the health service, the fight for pay restoration and improving the working lives of SAS doctors is far from over. The next step is seeing what the next DDRB pay round brings, and whether it brings us any closer to giving all SAS doctors, on all contracts, what they deserve.”  

Professor Phil Banfield, BMA council chair, added: "Although this marks significant progress helping to retain more SAS doctors in the health service, the fight for pay restoration and improving the working lives of SAS doctors is far from over. This deal shows that it is possible to negotiate a successful end to the doctors' disputes with the right investment, right offer and improvements to working conditions. The Prime Minister should now do the same for junior doctors. It's not too late for Rishi Sunak to take this opportunity to be known as the PM that successfully settled all the hospital doctor's disputes in England."

Notes to editors

  1. This annual uplift was based on recommendations from the DDRB (the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration), which advises governments on rates of pay for doctors and dentists in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  

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.

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