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Staff Grade and Associate Specialist Doctors

Health Education England - Wessex is committed to the personal and professional development of SAS doctors in our region.

We recognise that the careers of SAS doctors do not stand still. While SAS doctors are clinically able, and tend to keep up to date in their discipline, they need real support to be trained to take on additional roles and reach their full potential.

HEE Wessex was the first UK local office to appoint an Associate Dean for SAS Doctors and we are proud to continue this supportive tradition. Since 2008 deaneries (now local offices) have had the responsibility, on behalf of the Department of Health, to allocate SAS development funds to trusts. 

The role of  HEE Wessex is to support SAS Tutors within each trust, monitor the quality of educational experience and provide general guidance. It is the responsibility of the employing trusts to direct SAS doctors towards appropriate development activities and to make the necessary funds and time available for them to do so. 

What value does Health Education England - Wessex add?

  1. Health Education Wessex pays the salary, administrative and IT support of a dedicated Training Programme Director. 
  2. Provides a forum via CoPMED for leaders such as Associate Deans and Training Programme Directors to learn and share ideas.
  3. Supports the appointment, payment and appraisal of the SAS tutors within individual trusts.
  4. Co-ordinates a strong network of tutors, who are able to work together to produce training from local colleagues, trainers and specialists in field, to provide cost efficient, high quality workshops and conferences.
  5. Organise regional events on topical issues of broad interest to SAS doctors, including ‘What’s Next?’, a 3 day programme for those new to being a  specialty doctor. 
  6. Provide career support to SAS doctors including CESR applicants.
  7. Provide new career opportunities in the Quality Improvement Fellowship and Specialty Trainer role.
  8. Maintain a database of SAS doctors to assist the fair allocation of funds and for direct emailing of information.
  9. Support the personal and professional development of SAS doctors through access to numerous Courses and Conferences


An operating theatre. A patient on the operating table, covered with blue surgical cloths. A woman in blue scrubs, and face mask placing a dressing on bare skin. Surgery. Where can I find out more?

Every trust within Wessex has a dedicated SAS tutor. These are all SAS doctors themselves, and they are generally paid one session to carry out this part of their role.

Each has knowledge of the opportunities open to SAS doctors, and can provide you with information as to the funds received by your trust, and of local training events.


For any HEE Wessex SAS doctor finding their professional circumstances particularly challenging, or perhaps seeing an opportunity they would like to explore, our first recommendations is that they talk with their tutor.

How are SAS funds allocated?

Health Education England - Wessex ensures equality of resource allocation and access to professional skills training. Each trust is allocated a sum of money for an SAS Clinical Tutor for one session per week.

There is a central budget to support regional training days and some expenses for local training days. As SAS development has changed with significantly reduced funding from HEE, the scope of training activity has widened to include translational clinical topics delivered around Wessex as regional ‘Up Date’ days.

Under the new Specialty Doctor contract, SAS doctor are encouraged to take up leadership and management roles to progress through seniority payment thresholds. There is some evidence of increased involvement, but many SAS struggle to find new opportunities. Whether it is resistance on the part of SAS doctors to see a need to develop leadership or management skills, or an organisation  under pressure that it struggles to think of ways to creatively and effectively use SAS Doctors, Health Education England - Wessex has a role to guide and to promote. 

At HEE Wessex we have set expectations that in receiving the SAS development funds, trusts have a responsibility to ensure that the SAS doctors really are getting involved in training. It is our belief that there is much untapped potential amongst SAS doctors though there is no simple prescription. 

Health Education England - Wessex is committed to long-term collaboration with SAS doctors and trusts at this time of great change within the NHS and medical roles in particular.

Career opportunities for SAS in Wessex

Quality Improvement Fellowship

SAS Quality Improvement Fellowship is in its second year, run by the Wessex School of Quality Improvement and delivered by Healthcare Quality Quest (HQQ).

The fellowship is over one year, with central contact days, and on line support from HQQ. Fellows are encouraged to work with their Trust teams to deliver their project.

See our HEE Wessex Quality Improvement pages for more information

Specialty Trainer Role

This year nine SAS doctors are being supported to develop their teaching and training skills in a subject in which they have expertise and interest.

They will deliver training over Wessex to a multi-disciplinary audience, and they are supported by back fill funding.

You will find the Specialty Trainer Directory in this document (pdf)


Improving Global Health (IGH) through Leadership Development: Thames Valley and Wessex Leadership Academy

This programme recruits volunteers from all staff groups in the NHS, who are awarded a Fellowship.

This involves a six month placement with an overseas partner in a resource poor setting.

For further information click here to go to the Leadership Academy website


Peter Hockey, Deputy Dean, has strategic responsibility for SAS doctors in HEE Wessex

Karen Mounce, Training Programme Director,  Email:

PA: Julie Worthington; 01962 718428


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