Getting the recognition we deserve

by Leanne Davison

There is much to be celebrated about SAS doctors and it is high time we started talking about it

Location: Northern Ireland
Published: Wednesday 28 September 2022

What is a ‘SAS doctor’?

A member of the public might think it’s the medical wing of an elite army unit.

If you are a medical student or a foundation doctor, you could well think it’s possibly a job you’ll learn more about further on down the training pathway to becoming a GP or a consultant.

If you are an SAS doctor like me, you will know that staff, associate specialist and specialty doctors are a hard-working, highly skilled yet undervalued branch of practice.

I have written previously about what I find to be the most rewarding aspects of the role – work-life balance and the space to develop personally and professionally at my own pace for example. 

We SAS doctors are a vital yet understated pillar of the health service who simply do not get the recognition we deserve. Thankfully I am not alone in feeling that this needs to change. 

In a few weeks’ time, the inaugural SAS Week takes place in health trusts across the UK with the aim of ‘promoting SAS as a positive career choice’ and celebrating the achievements of this important group of clinicians.

In Northern Ireland we are hoping health trusts will take this aim to heart and use it as a platform to recognise the wealth of expertise that exists within the grade locally. 

For example, in the backdrop of the current workforce and waiting list crisis, it would be a great opportunity to see a recruitment campaign for the new specialist doctor posts.

As chair of NISASC, I am delighted to be hosting a special webinar for members and non-members during SAS Week, taking place on Tuesday 11 October. This is an opportunity for you to hear how NISASC have been supporting the grade in Northern Ireland and learn what our work priorities are for the year.

This includes continued lobbying for the SAS associate dean to be recruited, introduction of an SAS rate card and reform of the SAS charter.

We will also have a briefing on the results of the recent pay BMA survey, while our member relations team will be providing details on how we support you in your place of work. 

We will also be using the week as an opportunity to signpost resources and support services for SAS doctors on our social media platforms. You can follow the conversation at @BMA_NI and the hashtag #SASWeek22

#SASWeek22 takes place from 10 to 14 October.


Leanne Davison is Northern Ireland SAS committee chair