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Supporting SAS doctors

Specialty and Associate Specialist (SAS) doctors are a vital part of the workforce, making up 20% of the medical staff in England, but many say they lack workplace support, find it hard to move between specialties, have limited access to training and some have reported bullying.

As part of our ongoing medical education reform work, we want to provide better support to SAS doctors. New measures outlined in Maximising the potential: essential measures to support SAS doctors report sets out how we along with NHS Improvement and other partners will work together to support and develop SAS doctors.

Through implementation of the shared commitments in the report, we aim to improve opportunities for SAS doctors to advance as clinicians and leaders in healthcare, to improve the knowledge of what they do among other healthcare professionals and to promote SAS as an attractive career option.

Commitments include:

  • The implementation of a SAS charter to better understand and address the current challenges;
  • The development of an improved data set about SAS doctors, including use of the Model Hospital;
  • Making sure SAS doctors are offered development opportunities linked to patient need, their experience and career aspirations;
  • Exploring how SAS doctors who wish to return to formal training can be better supported to do so;
  • Consistency of funding for SAS doctors, in terms of geography and in activities funded through SAS tutors, associate deans and/or a nominated individual with responsibility for SAS doctors;
  • Exploring how SAS can be involved more effectively by colleges as part of the education process, specifically as educational and clinical supervisors for doctors in training;
  • Exploring the extent to which developments in credentialing can include opportunities to develop SAS doctors.