|Your chance to be counted|
|Friday, 25 November 2011|
The RCSEd has launched an online survey to identify the training and support needs of SAS doctors
Most surgical units in the NHS have at least one Staff and Associate Specialists (SAS) doctor as a member of staff. These doctors are recognised as permanent committed members of the team, providing much of the backbone of the service. With the planned changes in the workforce, the number of doctors in this grade is increasing. There are a wide range of reasons why doctors take up posts in the SAS grade and we must understand the developmental needs and the aspirations of individual doctors in order that they can achieve their full potential. This will be to the benefit of both the surgical units involved and to the NHS in general.
The RCSEd committee that represents SAS doctors is organising a short survey of all Fellows and Members of the College in order to identify all College surgeons in the SAS grade and establish further information about the demographics of those in the grade. This survey is being sent out by email, but in case any SAS doctor has not received the email, the survey can be completed by following this link: www.surveymonkey.com/s/2N62S6R
Some doctors take up their SAS post as it provides stability and the potential for part-time work in their preferred specialty, whilst allowing for further development and progression. They can enter this grade at an earlier age, when further training to reach consultant level may be difficult for domestic or personal reasons. These doctors often gain great expertise and experience in their chosen field. Previously, they could then be recognised as senior doctors by personal promotion to an associate specialist post. However, the associate specialist post is now closed. The 2008 contract created the new post of specialty doctor, which incorporates both the staff grade and associate specialists on one incremental scale.
Other doctors take an SAS post for job security when they are having difficulty in securing either a training or consultant post. These doctors may settle in the SAS post, but some would prefer to complete their training, with many hoping to achieve consultant status.
If the response to this survey of SAS grade surgeons is good, we will be able to assess the number of RCSEd surgeons in this grade and have a better idea of their needs.
Whatever the motivation that leads to a doctor taking an SAS post, it is important that all SAS doctors are supported to develop and use their skills fully and are given the opportunity to further their training when required. This will lead to job satisfaction for the SAS doctor and a more productive workforce.
We would be grateful if Surgeons’ News readers could pass this message on to any SAS grade surgeons to encourage them to complete this survey.
Recognition for training
The Committee for SAS doctors is also working on other issues, such as recognition for training. Most SAS doctors participate in teaching and supervising trainees, but many are not acknowledged as doing so, particularly in the log books.
Associate Specialist in Orthopaedics, Borders General Hospital, and Member of the College Committee for SAS Doctors