SAS development

Group of hospital staff

Specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors and dentists are a diverse group with a wide range of skills, experience, and specialties.

They work as staff grade doctors, associate specialists, specialty doctors, hospital practitioners, clinical assistants, senior clinical medical officers and clinical medical officers. Ensuring that SAS doctors receive effective development benefits patient safety and employers, as well as the individual doctor. Good patient experience is strongly associated with a motivated and engaged workforce where every individual has the opportunity to work at their full potential.

Investing in development is a step to achieving that which will inevitably better equip these doctors to meet the needs of the service and improve patient care.

SAS doctor development guide

The SAS doctor development guide was produced in partnership with the British Medical Association, Health Education England, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and NHS Employers in February 2017. It aims to make sure that this important group of doctors remain fit to practice and develop in their careers.

The four partners worked in partnership in early 2015 to run a survey about SAS doctor development and deliver four regional workshops. The development guide addresses the issues raised in the survey and workshops, and describes actions that can be taken to ensure that best practice is applied in the development of SAS doctors and dentists, and how different groups can work together to ensure the principles are consistently applied.

Improving SAS appraisal guide

The Improving SAS appraisal guide aims to support employers to ensure that their SAS employees are able to engage fully with the appraisal process. It 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.

Securing the future workforce for emergency departments in England

In October 2017, Health Education England (HEE), NHS Improvement, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) and NHS England published a plan to ensure sustainable staffing to meet the growing demands of the future. 

Securing the future workforce for emergency departments in England aims to grow a multi-professional workforce, reduce attrition in medical training and ensure emergency departments in England are attractive places to work.


Dignity at work

Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect at work. Bullying and harassment is not acceptable. A 2015 British Medical Association (BMA) survey of SAS doctors found that more than a third had experienced bullying, harassment or victimisation at work over the preceding 12 months. Read the survey findings and find out what the BMA is doing to tackle bullying and harassment on the BMA website. You can also find more helpful information on our evidence and tools pages.

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