SAS doctor development

The RCoA welcomes guidance on the development of specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors in the NHS in England.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, The British Medical Association, Health Education England and NHS Employers have worked together to produce this guidance to help ensure that this important group of doctors is helped to remain fit to practice and develop in their careers.

This guide describes actions that can be taken to ensure that best practice is applied in the development of SAS doctors, and how different groups can work together to ensure best practice is consistently applied.

SAS doctors are advised how to develop and extend their professional roles to best meet the need of patients. NHS Boards, Trusts, medical staffing and human resources departments and medical directors are provided guidance on how to best support their SAS workforce. Case studies are included to illustrate examples of SAS doctors performing in extended roles and where training programmes are, for example, being developed specifically for SAS doctors.

The principles set out can also be applied to other doctors who are not in training and whose appointment does not require them to be on the GMC specialist register.

From the RCoA’s 2015 medical workforce census, we know that SAS doctors account for 22% of all UK anaesthetists and therefore deliver a vital contribution to patient care. SAS anaesthetists are a diverse group with a wide range of skills and experience whose development will directly benefit patient safety.

Every anaesthetist should have the opportunity to work to their full potential. The RCoA is committed to supporting SAS anaesthetists to develop fulfilling careers in order to meet the need of the National Health Service and deliver effective patient care. SAS doctors are included in all aspects of College business and represented on College Council as well as on all major College committees.

23 February 2017

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