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Staff Grade and Associate Specialist Doctors

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. Health Education 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.

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

The role of Health Education Wessex is to allocate SAS funds to trusts, 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 Wessex add?

  1. Health Education Wessex pays the salary, administrative and IT support of a dedicated Training Programme Director. 
  2. Provides free hosting and support to Wessex SAS Doctor Extranet to share learning and build an education support network.
  3. Disburses  SAS  development funds to trusts in a manner that is transparent and accountable.
  4. Provides a forum via CoPMED for leaders such as Associate Deans and Training Programme Directors to learn and share ideas.
  5. Supports the appointment, payment and appraisal of the SAS tutors within individual trusts.
  6. Co-ordinates a strong network of tutors, who are able to work together to produce cost efficiencies when purchasing from private training providers.
  7. Organise regional events on topical issues of broad interest to SAS doctors.
  8. Provide career support to SAS doctors including Article 14/ CESR applicants.
  9. Champion and make available 1:1 coaching.
  10. Maintain a database of SAS doctors to assist the fair allocation of funds and for direct emailing of information.
  11. Support the personal and professional development of SAS doctors through access to numerous Courses and Conferences

Where can I find out more?

If you are an SAS doctor, or a NHS employee with a role supporting SAS doctors, you can register with the SAS Doctors Extranet.

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. If you are unsure of the name of your tutor please email

For any Wessex SAS doctor finding their professional circumstances particularly challenging, or perhaps seeing an opportunity they would like to explore, our first recommendaction is that they access skilled, professional coaching.

How are SAS funds allocated?

Health Education Wessex ensures equality of resource allocation and access to professional skills training. Each trust is allocated a sum of money based on the number of SAS doctors employed. In recognition that the training needs of all doctors, whether part time or full time, are broadly similar, the funds are allocated on a per capita basis. The money is disbursed to the trusts as early as possible in the new financial year. As with every other budget within the NHS , the precise funding year on year is impossible to guarantee.

Trusts rather than individual doctors receive the funds, and it is the trusts via the tutor and medical director who are responsible for ensuring that this money is spent on appropriate activity. It is to be emphasised that the additional SAS development funds are for professional and not clinical skills training. Trusts should provide SAS doctors the financial means for their ongoing clinical training.

Nationally there has been difficulty ensuring that doctors are aware of, and are able to make use of these funds in a timely fashion.  This reflects a number of factors that have traditionally served to maintain SAS doctors in relatively unchanging, highly clinically focussed roles.

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 Wessex has a role to guide and to promote. 

At 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 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.



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

Karen Mounce, Training Programme Director,  Email:

PA : Julie Worthington; 01962 718428

Wessex SAS Doctor Extranet Login Page 

Find out more about extranets in Wessex 


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