What is an SAS doctor?

Posted on Wed, 06/11/2019 by Dr Mike Wilkinson, SAS doctor

Dr Mike Wilkinson, a SAS doctor at the QE Gateshead, explains who ‘SAS doctors’ are and how they support vital services in our Trust and the NHS as a whole

So what is a SAS doctor? And what do they do?

You would be forgiven for thinking that SAS doctors have something to do with the ‘Special Air Service’ however that’s not the type of SAS we are talking about today.

When it comes to the NHS, SAS stands for ‘Staff, Associate Specialist and Specialty’ doctors.

In a nutshell we are a diverse group of experienced doctors who work permanently within a particular specialist area.

There are around 26,000 SAS doctors in the UK and we make up around 20% of the NHS medical workforce.

Although we are not in a formal training program and not a ‘consultant’, many SAS doctors perform duties that are similar to those of a consultant and some SAS doctors may be working towards becoming a consultant by applying to the Specialist Register when they have sufficient experience. The choice to become a SAS doctor often relates to flexibility, better work-life balance or simply a personal preference.

I work in Geriatrics (Care of the Elderly) and Orthogeriatrics (those with an orthopaedic issue such as a broken hip) and I am also one of the doctors in our Falls Team. I do my own clinics and ward rounds and provide support to our SAS doctors as the Trusts’ SAS Tutor. My SAS QE colleagues work across many different specialties including the Emergency Department (A&E), Paediatrics (children), Trauma & Orthopaedics, the list goes on. In fact if you can think of a specialty there is likely to be a SAS doctor within the team, if not at the QE, then somewhere within the region or wider UK.

In the past, SAS Doctors across the UK often felt poorly recognised, even discriminated against and generally not supported as well as they should have been. However I am pleased to say that this has changed significantly in recent years and continues to change for the better. At QE Gateshead I am proud to say that we have a fantastic set of SAS doctors who make a huge difference to the high quality care that the Trust provides and on behalf of the Trust I would like to say ‘thank you’ and reassure anyone that my door is always open should any SAS doctor wish to speak to me.

Find out more about SAS doctors

Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

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