NHS Health Education East Midlands

NHS Health Education East Midlands

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Specialty Doctors and Associate Specialists (SAS)

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SAS Doctors (Specialty Doctors and Associate Specialists) previously known as Staff Grade and Associate Specialist Doctors (SAS Doctors) are experienced and senior Career Grade Doctors working within the NHS. They work across all specialties, both in clinical and non-clinical areas. By tradition they have had a high level of service commitment. Training has not been part of the SAS doctor contract. Unfortunately all too often Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has been ignored as well.

Health Education East Midlands, by appointing an Associate Dean for SAS Doctors, has demonstrated that it recognises that CPD and some exposure to specialist education is an integral part of each SAS Doctor's development. A network of SAS Tutors has been set up across the East Midlands and these Leads have the responsibility for promoting the education for SAS Doctors within their respective Trusts. HEEM has also recognised the need to develop in partnership with Trusts and SAS doctors an educational CPD strategy to support future SAS doctor development. A copy of this strategy can be downloaded here.

Annual Conference

HEEM runs an annual SAS Doctors Conference in January.  

SAS Development Funding

In 2008 the Department of Health allocated funds to support SAS development nationally. HEEM opted to devolve funds to each Trust on a per capita basis (based on census data from 2006). The reason for the this decision was based on a number of factors including delays in recruiting APD to post and receiving the allocated funds from the SHA in August 2008. However in principle there was a consensus that Trusts across the East Midlands were better placed to channel the funding to SAS doctors to support ongoing professional development.  
The funding has been recurrent to date and in 2009/10 HEEM received a further £827,000, the majority of this allocation has again been devolved to Trusts. HEEM has provided Trusts with guidelines on how to utilise the SAS development funding.

HEEM Guidelines for utilising funding to support SAS doctor development

  • Learning activities should contribute towards Specialty doctors completing the Certificate of Eligibility of Specialist Registration (CESR) via Article 14.
  • Learning activities should support ongoing professional development of Specialty doctors towards the criteria/standards set in the General Medical Council (GMC) Good Medical Practice.
  • Learning activities should support ongoing professional development of Specialty doctors towards the criteria/standards set by the relevant Royal Colleges.
  • Learning activities identified in annual appraisal discussion and included in Personal Development Plans.

Key Contacts

  • Prof Ganesh Subramanian, Associate Postgraduate Dean
  • Dr Sandy Taylor, Associate Postgraduate Dean
  • Gerard O'Reilly, Development Manager (Gerard.O'Reilly@nhs.net)