RCoA response to the GMC survey of Specialty and Associate Specialist, and Locally Employed Doctors

Published: 09/01/2020

The Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) welcomes the publication today of the GMC's first ever survey of Specialty and Associate Specialist (SAS) and locally employed (LE) doctors.

The survey showed that many doctors see SAS and LE roles as positive choices that provide fulfilling careers. Despite this the results found that 30 per cent of SAS doctors and 23 per cent of their LE counterparts had been bullied, undermined or harassed at work in the last year, either by colleagues or by patients and their families, and almost half of LE doctors and 41 per cent of SAS doctors had difficulties accessing continuing professional development opportunities.

The RCoA council has two of its members represented by SAS doctors; these doctors are fully integrated in every aspect of the college business.   

Professor Ravi Mahajan, President of the RCoA said: “The SAS and LE doctors are an important and integral part of the workforce, and currently make up 22 per cent of the anaesthetic workforce. It is clear from the results that whilst many of the doctors of this vital group enjoy a fulfilling career, a lack of support and access to professional development within the NHS is leaving some others feeling underappreciated and lacking morale. Support for revalidation, continuing professional development and study are essential components and enablers for maintaining skills and knowledge. SAS and LE doctors should have the support systems in place to participate in appraisal and professional development.

 “The RCoA has long advocated for a more flexible and compassionate NHS. The reports of rudeness and incivility, belittling and humiliation are of great concern, and make it essential that stakeholders step up and implement a cultural shift. We need to foster an honest and open culture within the NHS, tackling harassment and increasing the wellbeing of SAS and LE doctors.

 “Overworked and demoralised staff can also affect the quality of patient care and safety. With over a quarter of SAS and LE doctors reporting burnout the College strongly recommends the implantation of a national welfare and morale strategy, ensuring positive outcomes for both SAS and LE doctors as well as patients.”