Staff Associate Specialists And Specialty Doctors Committee

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SAS doctor survey 2017

In 2017, the Staff, Associate Specialists and Specialty doctors Committee (SASC) undertook a workplace survey of SAS doctors.

The survey findings highlighted a number of key issues which we have focused on below.


Key survey findings

  • 65% of SAS doctors in the UK were not aware of whether the SAS Charter had been implemented in their Trust
  • 53% of SAS doctors in the UK were not aware of the SAS Charter
  • 59% of respondents did not know whether they had an SAS Associate Dean in their area
  • 67% had not used the SAS development fund in the last 12 months
  • 70% of those that gave an opinion said there had been cuts to the SAS development fund where they work
  • 67% of respondents said that they could work autonomously either most or all the time
  • 45% of respondents described morale as low or very low
  • 51% of respondents reported vacancies in their areas
  • 27% of respondents reported having experienced bullying and harassment in the workplace in the past 12 months

Key issues

  • SAS Charter

    The BMA SAS Charter was developed in collaboration between the BMA, NHS Employers, The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Health Education England. Subsequently national SAS charters were published in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    The charters recognise the key role that SAS doctors hold in the delivery of high quality, safe medical care for patients, and demonstrate a commitment to supporting and enabling you to realise your full potential. They set out what SAS doctors can expect from their employer and what their employer can expect of them.

    The survey findings indicate that implementation of the charters is low and inconsistent and that SAS doctors are not aware of the Charters.

  • SAS development funding

    The SAS development fund is funding for training and CPD for SAS doctors working in the NHS.

    HEE has control over the allocation of this funding and funding is allocated at a local level. Some popular areas covered in SAS training include management and leadership, coaching and mentoring, SAS doctors as educators and appraisal and appraiser training.

    SAS development funding benefits the individual, the service and the wider workforce. There have been increasing reports of difficulties accessing funding and reductions in local budgets since SAS development funding in England came under Health Education England.

    70% of respondents that gave an opinion said that there had been cuts to the SAS development fund where they work.

  • Workplace

    The survey shows us that most respondents were able to work autonomously either most or all of the time.

    There remain problems around the accurate coding of SAS doctors' work however, with 30% stating that work was never or almost never coded appropriately under their name.

  • CESR

    The majority of respondents indicated that they were not planning on applying for Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) and 67% said that they were not receiving any support from their employer with their application.

  • Workload

    Over 45% of SAS doctors said that they have felt unwell in the past 12 months due to work-related stress.

    45% of SAS doctors describe their morale as low or very low, compared to only 17% who describe their morale as being high or very high.

  • Bullying and harassment

    According to the survey, SAS doctors are still experiencing high levels of bullying and harassment, with 27% saying they had experienced this in their workplace in the past 12 months.

  • Guidance and resources

    Read helpful guidance and advice on some of the key issues raised in this survey. 

    SAS charters

    Career support for SAS doctors

    SPA time

    CESR guidance

    SAS training opportunities