Contractual right to transfer to the 2021 specialty doctor contract

Doctors employed on the 2008 specialty doctor grade or on closed SAS grades now have the right to transfer to 2021 specialty doctor contract.

9 June 2022

The joint negotiating committee for specialty and specialist doctors (JNC SAS) has agreed that from 9 June 2022, doctors employed on the 2008 specialty doctor grade or on closed SAS grades in England and Northern Ireland will have the contractual right to transfer to the 2021 specialty doctor contract during any time in their employment.

This will ensure that both doctors and employers are able to benefit from the new contractual provisions. Should doctors change employer, the 2008 contract will no longer be available; therefore, the 2021 contract will apply from date of commencement with the new employer.  

If a doctor expresses an interest to transfer to the new contract, they should let their employer know in writing. The employer will initiate a job plan review and then offer the doctor a new job plan and salary package. The doctor has the right to accept or decline the offer. If accepted by the doctor, the start date, and transfer to the 2021 contract, will be the date the job plan comes into effect.  

We know that fewer doctors than expected have expressed an interest in transferring to the new contract due to the impact of the 3 per cent pay uplift on old contracts (PDF). Doctors retain the right to remain on their existing contract without detriment. However, it remains the case for most SAS doctors that transferring to the new contract represents a benefit in terms of their basic pay over time. This is due to the multi-year pay deal and agreed pay uplifts in years two and three, as well as the new flatter pay scale, which reduces the time taken to reach the top of the pay scale. The new contract also introduces additional benefits, such as increased on-call availability supplements and new safeguards to protect against the most onerous unsocial hours and working patterns. 

We have updated the 2021 specialty doctor terms and conditions and published a terms and conditions circular to reflect these changes. This pay circular notifies employers of changes to the terms and conditions of service for specialty doctors and specialists (England) 2016.

We have also made a change in terminology to refer to pay scale codes rather than pay points for specialty doctor pay progression and to update the redundancy provisions to align with section 16 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service (the latter for both specialty doctors and specialists).