Hospital Dr News

New charter to support SAS doctor development

A royal college is calling on NHS employers, deaneries and trusts to endorse a new charter that supports SAS doctors’ distinct professional needs.

Staff grades, specialty doctors and associate specialists play a vital role in NHS service delivery, says the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, but their contribution and expertise have historically been under-valued and under-recognised.

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.

The RCPE believes it is vital that SAS doctors are better supported and that the SAS role must become a more attractive career option if we wish to avoid losing talented doctors from hospital medicine.

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 the RCPE believes employers must make to SAS doctors, including:

– 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; and

– personal study leave budgets are provided for all SAS doctors, who manage this to address their development needs.

Dr Mike Jones, vice president and SAS lead, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said: “The role of the SAS doctor is absolutely vital for the NHS, but has not always been understood or valued. It is essential that SAS doctors are better supported and that the SAS role becomes a more attractive career option if we do not wish to risk losing highly-skilled doctors from the NHS.

“In particular, we need to ensure that SAS doctors are exposed to a sufficient breadth and depth of clinical work to achieve and maintain relevant competencies and develop as clinicians, and that they are fully supported in undertaking a wide range of professional activities. We believe the Charter for SAS Doctors provides a firm foundation for employers to demonstrate their commitment to SAS doctors and to strengthen the support provided.”

Read a speech on SAS doctors.

Bookmark and Share

Post a Comment

Enter this security code

Submit Comment for Moderation