If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume you’re happy to receive all cookies from the BMA website. Find out more about cookies
When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience.
Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.
You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
These cookies are required
These cookies allow us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information we collect is anonymous unless you actively provide personal information to us.
If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.
These cookies allow a website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you're in) and tailor the website to provide enhanced features and content for you.
For example, they can be used to remember certain log-in details, changes you've made to text size, font and other parts of pages that you can customise. They may also be used to provide services you've asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. These cookies may be used to ensure that all our services and communications are relevant to you. The information these cookies collect cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.
Without these cookies, a website cannot remember choices you've previously made or personalise your browsing experience meaning you would have to reset these for every visit. In addition, some functionality may not be available if this category is switched off.
Our websites sometimes integrate with other companies’ sites. For example, we integrate with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, to make it easier for you to share what you have read. These sites place their own cookies on your browser as a result of us including their icons and ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons on our sites.
My own journey as a SAS grade has been positive. There can be a lot of negativity and misunderstandings surrounding our role but talking to colleagues also in the grade, several others have also found it to be positive, with less enforced need to do management roles. Being positive about the role engenders a recognition in others that it should not be a dead-end grade.
Looking back over my time, by default it is coloured by my own choices and routes, so much of this is personal reflection, but I hope others may take something from these thoughts. Having been a trainee in Anaesthesia after qualifying from Aberdeen University, I took a step which some of my colleagues saw as being career suicide. I left the profession for four years in order to care for my disabled mother until her death, and also had my children. While I was out of medicine the staff grade was introduced, and I saw at once this would be a way for me to combine medicine and family life. It provided me with the work-life balance I desired, and the chance to undertake chronic pain management alongside anaesthesia.
I initially returned to work in a married doctor retainer scheme post, but soon was appointed to a staff grade, and then associate specialist post. Things quickly led to opportunities to represent SAS grades in the then newly formed LNC, and I was able to raise the profile of SAS grade staff within my Trust so that we were no longer omitted in error! Once my hospital site merged with others to become a county wide Trust, I continued in the LNC, becoming LNC chair - believed to be the first SAS grade to hold such a post, though quickly followed by others in different Trusts - and only stepping down as chair after nearly 9 years in the role, though still remaining on the LNC as a SAS rep.
I also became involved with the local BMA Division, which enabled me to attend the ARM (Annual Representative Meeting), where I felt passionately about issues affecting SAS grade staff. So did my maiden speech and this led to encouragement to stand for SASC UK, and I was fortunate enough to be elected to the committee. There are undoubtedly challenges for those of us in this branch of practice, but the strides taken by the production of our guidance documents, (including the SAS charter)over the years have been very significant when considering we used to be “non” grades. Many of us are now appraisers, educational/clinical supervisors, and some have management roles. From early in my time in SASC, my experience at the ARM meant that I was able to become conference chair for five years. The introduction of SAS career development funding enabled me to become SAS Tutor, and also to explore the world of education by doing a Masters in Medical Education. All of these experiences give me immense job satisfaction and allow me to appreciate that opportunities are to be seized, and that undertaking these roles gives a fascinating insight into the amazing work done by my colleagues, as well as enabling me to encourage others to do the same.
The cross representation to other committees from SASC gave a fascinating and useful insight to the issues faced by other branches of practice, and I have valued having this overview of the profession. My love of the ARM remained, so I was fortunate to be elected to the ARM Agenda committee, and now am deputy chair of the Representative Body, where I hope I show that all BMA members of whatever branch of practice they are from should be valued and encouraged.
So what have I learnt over the years?
Be positive; treat others as you would wish to be treated; respect is mutual; be patient and accept changes may take time; if thwarted change tack; seize opportunities as people will not offer you things on a plate; don’t stagnate; value friends and colleagues; don’t waste time stressing about things you cannot control; and have something in your life other than work.
Anthea Mowat is deputy chair of the BMA Representative Body
As always an inspiration to others Anthea.
Excellent journey, huge contribution to SASC, a career filled with achievements!
Truly inspirational, Anthea. Your sacrifice, values to to families, particularly your mother is examplrary. Your journey to success being a SAS dr would be landmark for others to follow.
Just to follow from my comments above(after log in) , I must say your journey is not over yet and wish you many more success to your personal and professional life. Warmest regards. Farid
A thoroughly fascinating journey. And so inspiring.
Hope we see a lot of the new intake take heart from this. Nothing comes on a plate. Opportunities have to be used to the maximum.
Well done Anthea.
Such a heart warming story of human ingenuity and endeavour! Truly inspirational, Anthea! You have been a role model for me ever since we first met about ten years ago. Your last paragraph summarises so succinctly what we need to do for a peaceful and contented life. Many thanks for these wise words!
Thanks a million for such an extremely positive article and for sharing such wise and down-to-earth advice! You've made my day! :-)
I am an SAS because I never saw my future in this class based society and never wanted to be a colleague to the majority of TOE RAGS that call themselves coinsulktants.
Your message is very encouraging and positive. t is nice to know different pathways to progress other than CESR.
Well Done Anthea.
It must be great to work in a Trust who gives such support to SAS doctors. I chose to follow-the SAS route because I had health problems, I served on my local LNC . Got disillusioned when we got nowhere . In the current juniors dispute I have seen very little in the way of thanks to us, but we are doing a huge amount to fill the gaps left by absent juniors.
A great post Anthea- inspirational for others! Louise Robinson
Very inspiring thank you.
Glad it worked out for you but most of us are treated as 2nd class citizens...no 3rd class.
I agree - it should not be "career suicide" to take on an SAS post, but quite the opposite. I too generated much consternation when I announced my decision to apply for a Staff Grade post, having been a Registrar in Anaesthetics. Looking at the NHS now, it was probably the best move I'd ever made.