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A positive career choice: supporting SAS doctors in Wales

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RCP Cymru Wales has published findings from a recent virtual workshop of staff, associate specialist and specialty (SAS) doctors in Wales, calling for a fresh approach to recruiting doctors and bringing down hospital waiting lists.

SAS doctors are a significant and experienced part of the medical workforce. They work in non-training senior roles with at least 4 years of postgraduate medical training. There are SAS doctors in every hospital specialty, as well as in primary and community care. In Wales, there are approximately 800 SAS doctors making up almost 20% of the NHS hospital workforce (rising to 30% when locally employed doctors are included).

The RCP is calling on NHS Wales to harness the potential of these experienced doctors, many of whom have decided to make a positive career choice to opt out of the postgraduate training pathway. But health boards and trusts must think outside the box. The RCP is now calling on health boards to ensure that SAS doctors have protected time for career development, education and research, and that their workload and clinical experience is formally recognised.

NHS bodies should also audit their implementation of the SAS charter, support SAS tutors, advocates and CESR leads to establish SAS doctor forums, and work closely with Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) to bring together SAS doctors from different specialties, directorates and teams in local networks.