SAS doctors say yes to contract

by Tim Tonkin

Staff, associate specialist and specialty doctors in England have voted overwhelmingly in favour of introducing new, BMA-negotiated contracts for specialist and specialty doctors, following a recent referendum.

Location: England
Last reviewed: 18 March 2021
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The result, which comes just days after SAS doctors in Wales also endorsed new contractual terms, saw doctors in England vote overwhelmingly in favour of the new contracts.

Negotiated by the BMA, NHS England and NHS Improvement, NHS employer organisations and the Department of Health in the course of a year, the new contracts will provide a raft of career and workplace benefits to SAS doctors.

These include safeguards to protect work-life balance, flatter pay scales, greater recognition of on-call work and enhanced access to shared parental leave.

The new specialist role, meanwhile, is the first senior SAS grade to be introduced at a national level since 2008.

Offer of thanks

In a message sent out today, BMA SAS committee chair Rajesh Kumar (pictured above) offered his thanks to all SAS doctors who had participated in the referendum, adding he believed the new contracts represented an enormous opportunity for members of his grade.

He said: ‘This contract with an overwhelming approval by the SAS doctors is the first giant step towards making the SAS grade a positive career choice.

‘Our two big asks, improving the pay and progression of specialty doctors and opening of the specialist post have been fulfilled. I want to thank all SAS doctors for voting in favour of this contract, the SASC UK, our negating team and the BMA staff who helped us achieve this fantastic outcome.

'I cannot thank enough our council chair, Chaand Nagpaul, for the immense support throughout the negotiations. Special thanks to the NHS Employers team for negotiating with us on a tight timeline through the difficult COVID period. We are extremely delighted with this referendum outcome and look forward to a smooth implementation of the contract.’

Transition period

The endorsement of the new contracts will not see automatic changes to doctors existing terms and conditions, with doctors in England and Wales set to be contacted by their employer from the beginning of next month about whether they wish to switch to a new contract.

From 1 April doctors in both countries will have a six-month period in which to express interest in transitioning to new terms.

The terms of the contract package for SAS doctors in Northern Ireland is awaiting financial sign-off from Stormont and is yet to be put to a referendum.

For more information on the contracts, please click here