SAS anaesthetists and the COVID-19 pandemic - Statement from the Association of Anaesthetists SAS Committee
SAS grade doctors make up over 20% of the anaesthesia workforce and, like other healthcare workers, have demonstrated exceptional levels of commitment and professionalism throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with other staff groups, SAS anaesthetists have agreed to altered rotas and job plans and have worked extra nights and additional ‘out of hours’ duties. They have kept essential services running and have covered for absent, sick or isolating colleagues. Many have worked a significant number of additional hours.
These changes were always meant to be temporary, and job plans and rotas should return to their pre-COVID state as soon as possible. The Association of Anaesthetists is disappointed to hear of occasions where temporary changes seem to have been accepted as the ‘new normal’. Any proposed changes to job plans, for SAS or any other grades, must go through the existing job planning and negotiation processes. The Association of Anaesthetists SAS Committee expects that SAS doctors should be returned to their pre-pandemic job plans as soon as possible.
It is unacceptable for SAS or any other grade of anaesthetists not to be remunerated for additional duties or that arrangements for remuneration have not yet been agreed. Funding has been put in place to ensure staff are remunerated fairly, and the Association calls upon departments to ensure this is dealt with as a priority and for all staff groups to be treated equally.
Dr Thomas James (Chair, SAS Committee, Association of Anaesthetists)
Dr Kathleen Ferguson (President, Association of Anaesthetists)