SAS doctor

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Merits of appraisal stressed to SAS doctors

Doctors leaders are urging staff, associate specialists and specialty grades to see appraisal as not only vital for revalidation but also for their training and leadership.

They are also calling on SAS grades to be actively involved in becoming appraisers.

The invite comes as the BMA Survey of SAS Doctors’ Experience of Training and Appraisal reveals that only a fifth of respondents have been trained as appraisers.

The latest assessment of organisational readiness for revalidation — the NHS revalidation support team’s Organisational Readiness Self-Assessment Report 2011/12 — also indicates that only 53 per cent of all SAS doctors in England were appraised in the previous year.

BMA staff, associate specialists and specialty doctors committee chair Radhakrishna Shanbhag stressed that appraisal is an integral part of revalidation and a contractual requirement for doctors on the new SAS contract.

He said: ‘If we are passionate about our work and want to continue to do it then appraisal is the key.

‘Appraisal links everything together, from your contract, to your ability to practise, to revalidation, to your career-development and leadership opportunities.’

Take charge

He urged SAS doctors to take formal responsibility for their appraisal, saying it would help identify areas for further development and training and potential leadership roles.

A recent BMA report on doctors’ perspectives on clinical leadership showed SAS grades believed they had restricted access to management opportunities and felt there were limited perceptions on their value and suitability for this.

Dr Shanbhag insisted: ‘In this new-age NHS, it is imperative that SAS doctors break out of their imposed mould, and identify and work to take up leadership opportunities which had hitherto been denied to them.

‘It is an opportunity to take your destiny in your hands and become a valuable member of the health force community. You deserve it.’

BMA consultants committee joint deputy chair Thomas Kane added: ‘Increasing the proportion of SAS doctors being appraised will need further appraisers. [We] would support appropriate extension of this process to SAS appraisers as part of a properly designed and constituted appraisal structure within trusts.’

The SASC is enlisting support from medical colleges, the GMC, the revalidation support team and deaneries to encourage an increase in the number of SAS appraisers and has raised the issue of low SAS appraisal rates with NHS employers.