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In the last SAS newsletter, I expressed my disappointment that the Government had not honoured the DDRB recommendation of a 3.5 per cent pay uplift. This week I want to speak about the review body’s wider recommendations concerning SAS doctors.
The latest DDRB report has once again highlighted the vital contribution SAS doctors make to the NHS and the need for more to be done by employers, and relevant stakeholders, to recognise the role we play.
It’s encouraging to see the level of alignment between the BMA SASC (SAS doctors committee) and the review body on what needs to be done to give us the support and opportunities we need to thrive in our careers. After our evidence last year, the DDRB recommended, and we were given, a 3.5% rise and 2.5% this year, backdated to April. This is due to the work of the BMA and this committee.
The review body has been pressing for NHS Employers, the Department of Health and Health Education England to put more focus on SAS doctors and, following the strong messages in last year’s report, there has certainly been movement in this area.
We have seen a commitment from the secretary of state to start negotiations on a new associate specialist grade. The review highlights the feeling from SAS doctors, that the closure of the grade has led many to feel like they are on a career path with no opportunity of progression in either pay or title. The review body has put its weight behind these negotiations and see it as a first step in invigorating the SAS group.
The review body also points to the publication of Maximising the Potential: essential measures to support SAS doctors. This was produced by NHS Improvement and Health Education England and sets out their commitments to create opportunities to give SAS doctors the opportunity to advance their careers as clinicians and take on leadership roles in the NHS.
This is long overdue.
It has taken time for these organisations to recognise that a career as a SAS doctor should be positive and rewarding. We are an ambitious group who have the same desires to develop as other branches of practice. SASC will be highly engaged with this piece of work to ensure these commitments are actioned.
While these new measures should be welcomed, the review body expresses disappointment that a lot of work remains to be done on implementing and promoting the SAS charters. It is vital that, despite the new developments for SAS doctors, we continue to push for the SAS charters to be implemented across all trusts and local health boards. Your BMA committee will continue to collaborate with NHS Employers to promote the charters and assist with their implementation.
A frequent frustration is the barriers we can face from our employers and colleagues when it comes to working autonomously. I was pleased to see that this DDRB report focused on the expertise and experience within our group, and the ability of many SAS doctors to undertake duties currently reserved for consultants.
The review body recognises that if SAS doctors are given the opportunity to work to their full potential, employers should witness a boost to productivity and improved morale and motivation among their SAS doctors.
The DDRB report carries considerable weight among employers and other important stakeholders, and it’s encouraging news for SAS doctors to see it’s been recognised that ‘further investment is needed to raise the profile and attractiveness of this important and often under-valued group’.
Amit Kochhar is the BMA SAS doctors committee chair
Thank you for this blog. I read with interest the DDRB report. We need to raise the profile of SAS Doctors and form a monitoring committee of the SAS Charter implementaion in trusts and health baords. The implementation toolkit is important but it needs a follow up and people on the ground to monitor the progress. SAS Doctors like action and I think this is now a golden opportunity for all SAS doctors to be positive and raise the profile and apply for CESR for example and be at the front of providing an excellent patient's care.
From Dr. Amer Jafar, FRCP
The Culture within the NHS needs to change
Thank you for the blog and the effort put to uplift our profile.
we have witnessed Many issues whether clinical, financial and governance related have been solved by SAS team successfully hope they will get recognition and appreciation
There are quite a few SAS doctors on the Specialist Register of the GMC. Why not the BMA SAS Doctors Committee strive for a Specialist grade for those on the Specialist Register? It would be a further impetus in terms of salary and title.
Many thanks for the very useful and to the point comments; Currently, the working situation is very seriously dangerous. There is a clear mismanagement and lack of proper leadership skills making patient management unsafe. Who will be responsible? Trainee are protected by Deanery. Non trainee have no protection. The London deanery should be fully responsible to protect all; as they have been behind this problem since the lack of funding to get all in supervised posts and since the failure of Calman training 1999 followed by the ST training which is also not successful when compared to the old training with the very well respected retired old Surgeons.
I appreciate your advice in this very important issue. The consultant in charge of trainee is providing all the support to the trainee to complete their requirements for their Deanery ignoring totally the non trainee who are the main drive of the workforce. The middle grades are 7 specialty doctors and 2 trainee 2 of the specialty doctors are at associate Specialist level. Upon reviewing the policies, there is an obligation for supporting trainee and equally there is a trust obligation to support specialty doctors
But it's clearly the last one is getting ignored
Thank you for the blog. It is vital important to support the SAS doctors who are not able apply and not interested due different reasons esp age related as it is difficult to fulfil the requirement for CESR. Unless the doctor is on the specialist register, some of the trust are very reluctant to authorise SAS doctors for the independence practice.