Royal College of Physicians responds to GMC survey of specialty and associate specialist, and locally employed doctors

Following the results of the General Medical Council's survey of specialty and associate specialist (SAS) and locally employed (LE) doctors in the UK, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) responds. 

Dr Waleed Arshad, RCP SAS lead said:

“The GMC’s renewed focus on understanding the experiences of specialty and associate specialist (SAS) and locally employed (LE) doctors is welcome. We know that at times both these groups of doctors can feel undervalued and under-supported by their employers, and sometimes by their colleagues too.

“It's great to see that the majority of SAS and LE doctors can access the training they need to keep up to date and advance their careers, but there are still a significant number of my colleagues reporting not being given these opportunities. This has got to change.

“In the year ahead, it is vital that both the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS bring forward the proposals to re-open the Associate Specialist Grade and consult on reforms for the speciality grade. This would support long term LEDs to join the grade and create a route for speciality doctors to progress to the Associate Specialist Grade. These actions would create a valuable pathway for these doctors.

“SAS and LE roles are a valuable part of our NHS workforce and it is vital that employers ensure that they are doing everything they can to support them.”

Professor Donal O'Donoghue, RCP Registrar said:

“SAS and LE doctors are critical to the NHS in all four countries of the UK. We know that more doctors are choosing different professional pathways and it’s key that we ensure that those who spend time in SAS and LE roles feel valued and rewarded.

“It's clear that there are similarities between the experiences of SAS and LE doctors, but that each group faces its own challenges and these need to be acknowledged.

“It is well documented that NHS staff often feel under significant pressure, with this report showing that to be particularly true for LE and SAS doctors. Twice as many LE doctors and four times as many SAS doctors disagreed that their working environment was supportive compared to their trainee counterparts. This needs to change which will take concerted action from employers and our profession.

“The report also once again shows that the Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) process needs urgent reform to create a system which is fit for the present day.”

RCP and SAS & LED doctors:

The RCP welcomes both SAS and LE doctors as members of the college. We know that it is key that their views are represented in everything the RCP does, which is why we have a dedicated SAS group which looks after the interest of both SAS and LE doctors.

This group is made up of regional representatives and SAS representatives from specialty societies. SAS doctors also have a voice across the RCP’s boards and committees including RCP council.