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Charter for SAS Doctors

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24 Jul 2013


The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh welcomes a new UK-wide charter which has been developed by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) to recognise and support SAS doctors' distinct professional needs.


Staff grades, specialty doctors and associate specialists (SAS doctors) play a vital role in NHS service delivery, but their contribution and expertise have historically been under-valued. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of doctors entering the SAS grade rather than specialty training and this trend is set to continue as the demographic of the medical workforce changes and greater flexibility in working hours is sought. However, despite having distinct training and educational needs from trainees or consultants, and the introduction of the current SAS contract in 2008, there is no definitive strategy for the education and development of SAS doctors.  


Against this background the RCPE SAS Sub-committee has developed a UK-wide Charter for SAS Doctors to clarify the roles and responsibilities of SAS doctors and their employers regardless of specialty or College affiliation. The Charter is based on a number of guiding principles designed to ensure patient care and safety while better supporting the professional needs of SAS doctors. It lays out a number of detailed commitments which we believe employers must make to SAS doctors. These commitments include -

  • SAS doctors should work at a level, and receive supervision, commensurate with their competence and experience;
  • each SAS doctor should be allocated with a named Clinical Lead and appraiser with whom they will develop personal development and job plans and have frequent access;
  • service and educational needs are considered in parallel;
  • a sufficient breadth and depth of clinical work and relevant professional activities are provided to enable SAS doctors to achieve and maintain relevant competencies and develop as clinicians;
  • identifiable sessions are allocated to support professional activities including administration, education, audit, appraisal and teaching;
  • SAS doctors receive protected time for training to meet their professional development requirements;
  • personal study leave budgets are provided for all SAS doctors, who manage this to address their development needs.

The Charter has also been welcomed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties and by the British Medical Association.

For further information, please visit the Royal College of Physicans of Edinburgh's website.

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