SAS contract negotiations

Find out about the negotiations the BMA has been involved in about the SAS contract and keep up to date with any changes or progression.

Location: Wales England Northern Ireland
Audience: SAS doctors
Updated: Friday 15 January 2021
Contract and pen article illustration

SAS contract roadshows

SAS doctors will have the opportunity to vote on the two new contracts in a referendum held in February.

Before that referendum takes place, we are holding a series of virtual ‘roadshows’ to explain the detail of what has been negotiated and what it might mean for you.

Register now


Why the BMA has entered into negotiations

The aim of the negotiations is to reform the current specialty doctor contract and create a new senior grade to replace the closed Associate Specialist grade that would come in effect in April 2021.

There will be an additional 1% of the total SAS pay bill invested to support contract reform, as set out in the last NHS pay circular in both England and Wales.

Scotland will not be part of these negotiations. BMA Scotland are currently in separate discussions with the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland employers on potential SAS contract negotiations.

What the BMA wants from these negotiations

  • Increases to basic pay.
  • A simplified pay scale that is better suited to a career average pension scheme.
  • Additional contractual safeguards to improve work/life balance, particularly for those working onerous on-call patterns.
  • A clear contractual framework that allows for development and progression over the course of a doctor's career.
  • Improved training flexibility and opportunities for development such as leadership roles.
  • Appropriate variations to any agreed contracts to ensure their suitability for the Welsh NHS if we feel that it is necessary. 

What NHSE, DHSC, DoHNI and Welsh Government want from these negotiations

  • To raise the profile and status of SAS roles to attract and retain SAS doctors.
  • To create contracts that are attractive for employers to adopt and offer doctors fulfilling careers with opportunity for progression.
  • Modernise contracts that facilitate the provision of high-quality care.
  • Offer an additional pathway for career in medicine which provides and encourages development for those in SAS roles.
  • To reduce obstacles to the appropriate deployment of services to meet the needs of patients every day of the week.


Current status of negotiations

In December, the BMA and NHS Employers concluded negotiations on two contracts – a new Specialty Doctor contract and a Specialist grade contract – for SAS doctors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The contract package is currently with relevant stakeholders, including Ministers and the BMA’s representative structures, for further consideration. If approved, the contract package will subsequently be put to a referendum of BMA members in the SAS grades.

Once the contracts have been signed off, we will be publishing a range of materials setting out all of the details of the proposed contracts so that members will be fully informed about the decision they make.

After those materials have been made available, if you have any further queries about the proposed contracts that you don’t think have been covered, please contact [email protected]

For general enquiries and questions on your current terms and conditions of service, please email [email protected]