RCoA welcomes indefinite extension window for SAS doctors for transfer to the 2021 contracts

We welcome the announcement by the BMA SAS Committee that there will be no cut-off date for anaesthetists on existing SAS contracts to request migration onto the new 2021 contract. This represents significant progress in negotiations with government and will be available to staff working in England and Northern Ireland immediately.  

The College has championed the contribution and expertise of SAS doctors over many years, and we are delighted to see this recognised. Protecting working patterns is essential to the health and well-being of those doctors working at the frontline providing safe and effective anaesthesia and critical care to patients, often in challenging circumstances out of hours. The RCoA has also supported the wider engagement of this skilled group of staff in non-clinical activities such as clinical quality, research, training and education and leadership roles. The specialist contract rightly recognises and rewards this activity. 

The benefits of the new package are set out on the BMA website and summarised below: 

  • Pay and reward  

  • A pay deal of 3% over three years 

  • Flatter pay scale to promote career development 

  • Objective to reduce the gender pay gap 

  • Enhanced pay for shared parental leave and child bereavement leave 

  • Additional day’s annual leave after seven years in the grade in England 

  • Careers  

  • New senior SAS grade to support a clear career framework 

  • Trust-level funding for SAS improvement and development in England 

  • National-level funding for SAS improvement and development in Wales 

  • More autonomy regarding clinical experience 

  • Work-life balance  

  • New SAS advocate role to promote health and wellbeing 

  • Better working hour arrangements 

SAS doctors can choose whether to move to the new 2021 contract; those on the older contract, especially those with substantial levels of experience and on similar pay grades with their consultant anaesthetist colleagues should check whether the new conditions are beneficial to them before transfer. 

Dr Sunil Kumar 

Elected SAS Council member, Lead for SAS Workforce Wellbeing Task & Finish Group 

Dr Ashwini Keshkamat 

Elected SAS Council member, Chair of SAS committee 

Dr Russell Perkins 

Vice President