Doctors endorse SAS contract

by Tim Tonkin

Doctors in Wales have endorsed proposals for two new staff, associate specialist and specialty doctor contracts following a referendum on a BMA-negotiated contract package.

Location: Wales
Last reviewed: 5 March 2021
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SAS doctors based in Wales have approved plans to introduce a revised contract for specialty doctors which will provide opportunities for greater pay and recognition as well as introducing workplace safeguards.

A new specialist grade will also be created to allow opportunities for career progression for experienced SAS doctors.

The contracts, which came about following extensive negotiation between the BMA, NHS Wales Employers and the Welsh Government, will be implemented from 1 April.

The new contracts will introduce safeguards to protect work-life balance and introduce a shorter pay scales, as well as increased recognition of on-call work and greater provision for shared parental leave.

The contract package will also provide ringfenced funding dedicated to improving SAS doctors’ working lives during implementation and the introduction of new SAS advocates to address workplace issues including bullying and harassment.

Deal in action

BMA Welsh SAS committee chair Ali Nazir said that the vote in favour of the new contracts was hugely welcome and that his committee looked forward to bringing the advantages of the deal to life.

He said: ‘I’m delighted that members have voted to approve the new contract package in Wales. These contracts will unlock Welsh Government investment in SAS doctors, improve early-career earnings for specialty doctors, and provide much-needed career progression within the SAS grade.

‘We’re looking forward to working with Welsh Government and the health boards and trusts to implement the new contracts and all of the benefits that they will offer, from safeguards against fatiguing rotas to increased recognition of on-call work. It’s an exciting time to be a SAS doctor in Wales.’

In the wake of the vote, BMA Cymru Wales will now work with the Welsh Government and NHS Wales Employers to develop guidance for health boards and trusts to implement the new contracts from 1 April 2021.

Doctors who wish to transfer to the new contracts will have six months from 1 April to express interest, while new specialty doctors in Wales will automatically be placed on the new contract.

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