Updated SAS contract statement
Monday 13 June 2022
We welcome the recent announcement that the window to transfer to the 2021 SAS contracts has been extended indefinitely. This announcement from the BMA SAS Committee will be appreciated by many SAS members. We are aware that many were disincentivised from transferring to the new contracts prior to the initial deadline. The application of a 3% salary uplift to those on historical contracts, but not the 2021 contracts, created the possibility of being less well remunerated initially, or even ending up owing money to their employer. Understandably many were therefore hesitant to transfer. This newly announced change to the process should allow anyone on a historical SAS contract to now move to the 2021 version at a time of their choosing, without financial penalty for doing so.
We recognise that there may be a cohort of SAS anaesthetists who transferred to a 2021 SAS contract prior to the initial deadline who may have lost out as a result. We encourage Trusts to review their processes to ensure these doctors are not penalised.
It is an individual choice whether to stay on your existing contract, or to move to the 2021 version. The 2021 contracts contain mandated rest periods and protections against excessive out-of-hours work, which complement the Association’s Fight Fatigue campaign. Many SAS anaesthetists work out-of-hours on resident on-call rotas, potentially to a greater age than doctors in training on comparable rotas. The 2021 SAS contract reform provides a good opportunity for SAS doctors, employers and rota writers alike to review the sustainability of their current rotas, and the adequacy of existing rest facilities. Regardless of contract, all doctors need adequate rest and recovery while working shifts.
The Association SAS Committee has worked hard over the last year promoting appropriate contract use. We remain convinced that doctors early in their careers, but not in formal training, should have the opportunity to develop as Specialty Doctors. Senior, experienced and independent SAS anaesthetists should have the opportunity to apply for SAS Specialist roles. All doctors deserve support to develop, and the appropriate contract for the nature of their work. While some Specialist Anaesthetist positions have now been advertised, there are still many deserving doctors who have not yet had the opportunity to have their seniority recognised and rewarded, and we will continue to lobby for this.
To support our SAS members during the 2021 SAS contract reform, we held a webinar earlier this year. This was free to our members, and it is still possible to register and watch the recordings. Those now contemplating moving to the new version of their contract may wish to do so, and we hope you find this resource useful.
Robert Fleming, elected board member and SAS Committee chair
Emma Wain, elected board member
Mike Nathanson, President