New contracts for specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors were introduced from 1 April 2008 and a new 'specialty doctor' grade introduced. The grade subsumes other grades such as trust grade, clinical medical officer, hospital practitioner and clinical assistant.
From 31 March 2008 the associate specialist (AS) grade closed to new entrants, and eligible doctors could apply for personal regrading.
The new contracts make annual job planning and appraisal a core requirement for all specialty doctors and associate specialists. This aligns them with colleagues in the consultant grade, allows better team planning and continuing development for doctors in the specialty and associate specialist grades.
Improving SAS appraisal guide
This guide (published June 2013) aims to support employers to ensure that their SAS employees are able to engage fully with the appraisal process.
The guide is based on many of the common concerns expressed by SAS doctors in the appraisal workshops we ran in early 2013, and includes practical advice based on feedback, ideas and experience from SAS doctors themselves. It also sets out the steps that employers can take to acknowledge and develop SAS doctors’ skills.
The principles apply equally to trust doctors.
Download Improving SAS appraisal: A guide for employers
Improving SAS appraisal webinar
Around 65 delegates attended a webinar on 17 June 2013 which focused on how to improve appraisal for SAS doctors. For more information and to download the presentations and audio recording, see our Revalidation: appraisal and supporting information web page.
SAS job planning guide
NHS Employers, the BMA and the devolved administrations have published a UK guide to job planning for specialty and associate specialist doctors (published November 2012). The guide reflects a shared understanding of the key principles which should characterise a collaborative approach to the job planning process. It follows similar guidance produced in 2011 for consultants and their employers.
The guide sets out some key principles including:
- undertaken in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation
- mutually agreed and not imposed
- completed in good time with at least annual review
- reflective of the professionalism of being a doctor
- agreed taking account of the career development and aspirations of the doctor
- focused on maintaining high-quality care
- transparent, fair and honest
- agreed taking into account the individual doctor’s area(s) of expertise
- agreed with adequate provision for any activities mandated by regulating agencies
- responsive to appraisal discussion.
We have published updated FAQs (updated February 2013) on the specialty and associate specialist contracts in agreement with the British Medical Association (BMA).
In the February 2013 version, we have made changes to FAQs 2.2, 2.7 and 3.7 and added a new FAQ 14.3.
Any future amendments or updates will be negotiated and agreed between NHS Employers and the BMA.