Terms and conditions and resources for SAS contract reform 2021

Guidance and resources for employers to use to help with implementation of the 2021 specialty doctor and specialist grade contracts.

18 March 2021

Resources to help employers implement the new contracts such as model contracts, person specifications, implementation guidance and a choice exercise letter template.

Wherever ‘doctor’ is used in these documents, it is intended to mean a doctor or dentist.

Where the term ‘specialist’ is used in this web page and its documents, it is used to denote doctors and dentists employed on the specialist grade (England) 2021 contract.

Contract documentation

Guidance for implementation

  • Key changes at a glance - this document provides an overview of the key changes in the 2021 contracts.
  • Employer checklist - this document provides a list of the key actions employers will need to take to implement the 2021 contracts.
  • Implementation guidance - full guidance for employers implementing the new 2021 contracts including transitional arrangements and guidance on the new specialist grade.
  • Choice exercise flowchart - use this flow chart to follow the step by step process for existing SAS doctors wanting to transition to the new 2021 contracts.
  • Template letter for choice exercise and checklist - this Word document provides a checklist for employers undertaking the choice exercise for SAS doctors in their trust, including a template letter to send to their SAS doctors.
  • FAQs - read the frequently asked questions relating to SAS contract reform 2021.
  • Transition to the 2021 contracts: supporting SAS doctors to make an informed decision - this document aims to help employers articulate the impact of the 3 per cent uplift. It also describes the advantages and disadvantages of transferring to the new contract, so doctors can make an informed decision.
  • Guidance on pay progression - includes detail on standards, transitional arrangements and scenarios to illustrate circumstances relating to the new pay progression system.
  • Pay progression review template - this Word document provides a template form that employers can use and adapt locally for the new pay progression process that will be introduced from 1 April 2023.
  • SAS advocate role guidance - this guidance provides practical advice about the value of the role, and the skills, knowledge and resources a guardian may need to be effective in the post. (Note: this role is not mandatory or form part of the TCS)
  • Guidance for SAS professional development - guidance for application of SAS continuing professional development funding.

Specialist grade guidance

  • Specialist grade generic capabilities framework (PDF) - this document outlines the capabilities that a doctor will need to evidence in order to enter the grade.
  • Specialist grade template person specification (PDF) - download this document to help you develop a clear description of the requirements for an individual specialist role.
  • Concordat on the appointment of specialist grades (PDF) - read the concordat by NHS Employers, British Medical Association and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges which have worked together to ensure that the highest standard of professional medical practice in NHS employing organisations are maintained in the appointment of specialist grades.
  • Notes on person specification template (Word) - this list contains illustrative examples of specialty-specific criteria and guidance for reference. It shows ways in which the template person specification may be amended or extended to be made suitable for different specialties.
  • Specialist grade appointment guidance (Word) – this document provides additional guidance to support the transition of associate specialists into the specialist grade, including an easy-to-use template for doctors to evidence that they meet the criteria in the capabilities framework.


The choice window for expressions of interest from doctors wishing to transition to the new contracts has been open since 1 April 2021 and will close on 30 September 2021. Employers should now have written to all SAS doctors who are eligible to move to the new contracts, inviting an expression of interest from them.