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Wessex Deanery is committed to the
professional development of SAS Doctors across the region.
Doctors in SAS grades up until a few years ago
had no formal relationship with their deanery. Many doctors
who have long since left formal training programmes, or trained
abroad may have only the remotest idea of the role of the
Deanery. Traditionally the principal role of the Deanery was
in respect to selecting trainees, maintaining and assessing the
quality of both trainees and training programmes. This
function remains, but there is now a recognition of, and
responsibility towards, the educational development needs of a
range of medical and non-medical personnel.
Wessex Deanery was the first UK deanery to
appoint an Associate Dean for SAS Doctors. Dr John Stubbing
held this post for approximately three years prior to December 2009
when Dr Roger Palmer took over.
Dr Stubbing championed the importance of SAS
Doctors achieving effective job planning, appraisal and having
available adequate time for continuing professional
The new SAS Doctor Contract 2008 included a
recurring sum of money for English SAS doctors. It was
negotiated with the BMA, that these funds were intended for
professional skills development (i.e. non-clinical training).
This was in recognition of two things:
new contract laid the expectation that SAS Doctors’ careers would
not stand still, but evidence an increasing range of skills in
order to progress through the two thresholds.
While SAS Doctors were generally clinically able, and tended to
keep up to date in their discipline, their full potential to be
trained to take on additional roles was often unrecognised.
Since 2008 the deaneries have had the
responsibility, on behalf of the Department of Health and Strategic
Health Authorities, to allocate the SAS funds to the Trusts.
While the Deanery monitors and gives guidance, it is the
responsibility of the Trusts to direct SAS Doctors towards
appropriate development activities and to make the necessary funds
and time available for them to do so. Our database suggests
that there are approximately 570 SAS Doctors in Wessex. The
total funds distributed amounts to approximately £350,000 with
approximately £20,000 retained centrally to fund regional courses
and other activities.
What value does the Deanery
Deanery pays the salary, administrative and IT support of the
Associate Dean. This does not come out of
SAS development funds.
Providing free hosting and support to Wessex SAS Doctor
Disburses SAS training money to Trusts in a manner that is
transparent and accountable.
Provides a forum via CoPMED for Associate Deans to learn and share
Supports the appointment, payment and appraisal of the SAS Tutors
within individual Trusts.
Has developed a strong network of Tutors, who are able to work
together to produce cost efficiencies when purchasing from private
Organise regional events on topical issues of broad interest to SAS
Provide career support to SAS Doctors including Article 14/CESR
champion and make available coaching.
10. Maintain a database
of SAS Doctors to assist the fair allocation of funds and for
direct emailing of information.
All funds received by the Deanery for SAS
Doctor Development go towards this purpose. The Deanery
demonstrates its commitment to SAS Doctors by sharing, without
direct cost to the SAS Doctors, a range of services and
Where can I find out
If you are an SAS Doctor, or a NHS employee
with a role supporting SAS Doctors, you are welcome to register
with our Extranet http://www.wessoxdeanery.nhs.uk/
Every Trust within Wessex has a dedicated SAS
Tutor. All of these individuals are SAS Doctors themselves,
and they are generally paid 1 PA to carry out 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
How are SAS funds
The Deanery is motivated to ensure 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. This amounts to approximately £600 per doctor per
year. 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 to ensure 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, of which Trusts should be able to provide
SAS Doctors the financial means for their ongoing clinical
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 so under
pressure that it struggles to think of ways to creatively and
effectively use SAS Doctors, the Deanery 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.
The Deanery 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. For
any Wessex SAS Doctor finding their professional circumstances
particularly challenging, or perhaps seeing an opportunity they
would like to explore, I wholeheartedly recommend they access
skilled, professional coaching. Details of this free service
are available on the Extranet.
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