Associate specialist in anaesthesia Rajesh Kumar said he was thrilled to be appointed committee chair adding that he was looking forward to building on the committee’s existing successes and meeting future challenges.
He said his initial focus would be on finalising negotiations for the new associate specialist grade contract, getting the BMA’s SAS charter implemented across all employers, and to end the postcode-lottery approach to development funding for SAS doctors in England.
His biggest aim as chair, however, was to make SAS grade a positive career choice.
Dr Kumar became sole chair of SASC earlier this month having previously co-chaired the committee with former chair Amit Kochhar.
He praised his former co-chair Dr Kochhar for his years of dedication and hard work, qualities that had united SASC, and helped secure a number of landmark achievements for the SAS grades.
These include recognition and pay increases being recommended by the Doctors and Dentists Review Body and the SAS charters.
He said: ‘I cannot adequately put into words what Amit has done for SASC. He has raised the profile of our grade to a significantly high level. I am in the BMA because of him and has been a friend and mentor for many years.’
Originally from India, Dr Kumar came to the UK in 1995 on the Royal College of Anaesthetists’ dual sponsorship scheme.
After beginning his career at Royal Preston Hospital in 1999, initially as a staff grade doctor, Dr Kumar soon developed interests in teaching and training, leading to him becoming an academic adviser and honorary senior lecturer at Manchester University.
He now fulfils a number of training roles including educational supervisor, appraiser and 360-degree feedback facilitator and is also his trust’s freedom to speak up champion.
His first forays into medical politics began when he became his trust’s SAS Forum chair and local negotiating committee representative, before he went on to become honorary secretary of the BMA north-west regional SASC.
At a national level, Dr Kumar served as SAS conference chair for seven years, deputy chair and last year served as co-chair of SASC.