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Throughout my time as chair of the Staff, Associate Specialist and Speciality Doctors Committee (SASC UK) I have seen a lot of progress made for the doctors in our grades, but a lot of challenges remain.
So, when the DDRB said last year that they were concerned that our morale was low, despite us being key in the delivery of NHS services, it was good know that others were finally starting to recognise the issues we identified so long ago.
The DDRB specifically requested that more evidence on SAS doctors be submitted in this year’s pay review round, so over the summer we ran a survey of SAS doctors across the UK to find out more. We had already identified the SAS Charters, development and workload as being key areas and we wanted to explore these in more detail.
We were surprised to find out that only 53% of SAS doctors who responded had heard about the SAS Charters and know what they are. These documents, which you can read on the BMA website, are a collaboration between the BMA, NHS Employers, Health Education England and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and set out what SAS doctors can expect from their employer and what the employer can expect from them. They also make recommendations around ensuring patient care, recognition for the SAS group and minimum conditions – which covers a range of things from contract, job plan and activities to support and development. You will also find information about the development fund, Associate Deans and SAS tutors and a link to further resources.
We are going to be focussing on ensuring that the Charters are implemented across the country, but I would urge you to read these important documents. They contain information that could help you in your working life and point you in the right direction.
Worryingly, we now know that some of you have not been able to access development funding. We have been very concerned about the fund; allocations are being reduced and in some cases there is no funding available at all. Understanding what is happening to this budget and securing appropriate development funding for SAS doctors remains a priority for us this year.
The survey has also given us a clearer picture of what your working life looks like. Workload has gone up, there are recruitment issues within the grade and bullying and harassment remains a significant concern for us as a group.
This valuable data gives me, and SASC UK, an incredibly helpful steer for our work and will feed into everything that we do. Over the coming months we are going to be focussing in more detail on the key topics identified in the survey – please look out for this in these e-newsletters and share them with your colleagues. I want to make sure that you all know about the work that we have been doing on your behalf and the benefits that you can gain from this.
Amit Kochhar is chair of the BMA staff, associate specialists and specialty doctors committee
I'm sure the DDRB will be pleased to receive evidence based on this survey and will use it in their deliberations...
Excellent blog sharing successes and challenges for SAS Drs.
Implementation of SAS Charter and Development documents are key as well as reinstantment of SAS fund(areas where lost) is challenge for us to take forward.
Major needs to undertake to introduce SAS charter by visiting regions, Trusts and further communication amongst SAS members are needed.
Innovative ways to reintroduce Charter might help.
Credentialing of SAS Drs remains another means of greater recognition of SAS Drs.
With the changes coming ahead in the NHS with SApPs where risks need to be converted to opportunities for SAS Drs and we need to be vigilant.
Keep up the good work.
I am very interested. Haussam Elenin (Specialty Doctor - Antrim Area Hospital)
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