Celebrating the SAS/LED Contribution to the NHS – SAS Week and the RCSEd SAS/LED Conference

Celebrating the SAS/LED Contribution to the NHS – SAS Week and the RCSEd SAS/LED Conference

NHS Employers has designated October 14-18 as SAS Week in recognition of the monumental contributions of the specialist, associate specialist and locally employed doctors to the NHS. In this blog article, we take a closer look at the SAS workforce's contributions to the wider NHS.

We all know that SAS/LED doctors comprise of more than 30% of the licensed medical workforce within the NHS, and the General Medical council projects that it is on course to become the single largest group within the medical registry.

The SAS Workforce is inherently a very diverse workforce, with a healthy mix of different skill levels ranging from senior practitioners with autonomous practice to junior surgeons starting out their professional journey. It is also one of the most ethnically diverse workforce groups within the NHS, with a significant proportion of International Medical Graduates (IMGs).

Traditionally, SAS/LED doctors have been on the forefront of delivering day-to-day clinical services within the NHS. Apart from providing support to the consultant and trainee workforce groups, the SAS/LED workforce has provided stability and flexibility with ever-increasing workforce demands over the years.

Expanding their horizon, SAS/LED doctors have adopted additional roles into nonclinical areas such as leadership and management, teaching and training and mentorship roles. Some SAS/LED doctors have developed impressive research portfolios leading to academic appointments. The introduction of the Specialist grade and encouraging autonomous practice has been major developments in the SAS/LED career pathways recently, further utilising SAS/LED doctors’ vast clinical experience.

Currently the NHS is facing an unprecedented challenge to the workforce, with staff dissatisfaction and attrition at record high levels. With the ever so increasing demands of the heath care system, the demand for health care workers is expected to increase with the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee predicting that further 475,000 jobs will be required in health by the early 2030s. Hence, retaining and expanding the SAS/LED workforce is of paramount importance and is the absolute ‘need of the hour’.

Given the pivotal role that SAS/LED doctors play within the NHS, it is not surprising that NHS Employers has declared 14 – 18th October as the SAS Week. To commemorate this occasion, RCSEd has organised the SAS/LED Conference on October 16th in Birmingham.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has always been in the forefront of promoting the SAS/LED career progression as well as well-being. The College has a very active and engaging SAS and Locums Committee, and under the guidance of President Professor Rowan Parks, Council and the Committee Chair Mr Majid Mukadam, the SAS and Locums Committee has taken multiple initiatives to advance the interest of SAS/LED doctors in recent years, including annual SAS/LED study days.

Building on the resounding success of the previous SAS/LED study days, the College has put together a fabulous programme for the SAS/LED Conference in Birmingham on October 16th. There is a stellar line up of speakers who are certainly experts in their fields, covering a wide range of topics like portfolio pathway, workforce challenges, specialist grade, empowerment and supporting SAS/LED doctors and their experiences of setting up new service. Not to mention our exhilarating and extremely popular workshops that will provide practical tips on navigating portfolio pathway, setting up audit and QI projects, as well as how to develop a fulfilling and rewarding career as a SAS/LED doctor.

Be rest assured that whatever seniority or career stage you currently in are, you will not be disappointed!

We look forward to seeing you in Birmingham, where we can celebrate together the momentous occasion of the NHS SAS Week and the contributions of SAS/LED doctors to the NHS.

Written by Mr Lasitha B Samarakoon FRCSEd FFSTEd and Mr Majid Mukadam FRCSEd MBE.

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