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RCS responds to GMC survey on treatment of specialty and associate specialist doctors

27 Jan 2020

Following the results of the General Medical Council's survey of specialty and associate specialist (SAS) and locally employed (LE) doctors in the UK, The Royal College of Surgeon of England (RCS) responds. 

Dr Vinita Shekar, Chair of the RCS’s SAS Forum said: “We welcome the GMC’s first survey of specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors and locally employed doctors (LED). We are pleased to see the GMC has looked at their working lives, and acknowledged the challenges they face in gaining equal access to training. It is clear significant remedial action needs to be taken.

“These survey results should be acknowledged by all involved in decision-making for professional pathways for these doctors. SAS and LE doctors must be given the same opportunities as their counterparts.

“SAS and LE doctors are an integral part of the NHS, making up over 30% of the medical workforce. In addition to providing patient care, they are also involved in teaching and training the next generation. They have highlighted worrying issues around lack of access to professional development, and a lack of support for maintaining professional skills and knowledge. No wonder that many feel unappreciated, undervalued and demoralised.

“The survey also highlights worrying instances of bullying, undermining behaviour, and exclusion from training and professional development processes. These go against the core values of the NHS – its commitment to quality of care, compassion, equal opportunities, improving working lives and working together for patients.

“In the year ahead, building on the results of this survey, we look forward to working with the GMC, Department of Health and Social Care, HEE, NHS Employers and our SAS and LE surgeon colleagues. SAS and LE doctors must be given access to equal opportunities in the profession, so they can achieve their full professional potential and enjoy a rewarding career.”

Professor Derek Alderson, RCS President added: “It is disheartening to see so many SAS and LE doctors not being given an opportunity to develop in their career. These doctors are hardworking and skilled, and committed to making a difference to the patients they care for. They must be properly supported to develop professionally, so they can flourish in their careers.”

Notes to editors

  1. GMC survey results on SAS and LE doctors
  2. RCS SAS Forum
  3. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.
  4. For more information, please contact the RCS press office: telephone: 020 7869 6047; email:; out-of-hours media enquiries: 07966 486832.

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