The RCPE believes that staff grades, specialty doctors and associate specialists (SAS doctors) play a vital role in NHS service delivery, but that their contribution has been under-valued and there is a risk of losing these talented doctors from hospital medicine if they are not better supported.

Against this background, the RCPE has developed a UK-wide Charter for SAS doctors to clarify the roles and responsibilities of SAS doctors and their employers regardless of specialty or College affiliation. The Charter is based on a number of guiding principles designed to ensure patient care and safety while better supporting the professional needs of SAS doctors. It lays out a number of detailed commitments which the RCPE believes employers must make to SAS doctors. These commitments include –

  • SAS doctors should work at a level, and receive supervision, commensurate with their competence and experience;
  • each SAS doctor should be allocated with a named Clinical Lead and appraiser with whom they will develop personal development and job plans and have frequent access;
  • service and educational needs are considered in parallel;
  • a sufficient breadth and depth of clinical work and relevant professional activities are provided to enable SAS doctors to achieve and maintain relevant competencies and develop as clinicians;
  • identifiable sessions are allocated to support professional activities including administration, education, audit, appraisal and teaching;
  • SAS doctors receive protected time for training to meet their professional development requirements; and
  • personal study leave budgets are provided for all SAS doctors, who manage this to address their development needs.