SAS doctors vote yes to new pay deal

The move puts an end to the pay dispute between members of the British Medical Association and the Government.

Specialist, associate specialist, and specialty (SAS) doctors in England have voted in favour of a new pay deal from the Government, the British Medical Association (BMA) has said.

It follows months of negotiations and the rejection of a previous offer.

The new package means SAS doctors on open contracts could see pay increases of between 9.5% and 19.4% compared with 2022/23.

It also includes a consolidated uplift of £1,400 to each pay point for SAS doctors on closed contracts.

This is on top of the 6% increase awarded by the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) in 2023/24.

Some 79.3% of SAS members of the BMA who took part in the ballot voted in favour of the new deal. The turnout was 61.1%.

While the dispute is now formally over, the BMA vowed to continue to push for further improvements to SAS doctors’ pay and career development.

Dr Ujjwala Mohite, chairwoman of the BMA’s SAS UK Committee, said: “We entered this dispute with the Government almost a year ago, and today’s result is a step in the right direction in restoring SAS doctors’ value in the NHS.

“Not many people have heard of SAS doctors or know what they do, but they are absolutely crucial to the running of the health service.

“They are experienced, senior doctors who for a variety of reasons, didn’t go down the traditional GP or consultant training pathway. They usually work in hospitals, delivering expert care alongside junior doctors and consultants.

“However, a combination of burnout, eroded pay, stunted career progression, and being taken for granted by the Government has seen many forced to leave the NHS altogether.

“Many SAS doctors also suffer from grade-ism – the idea that, because they don’t fit into the traditional pathways, they are somehow not as important.

“That’s why, even though today marks significant progress in helping to keep more SAS doctors in the health service, the fight for pay restoration and improving the working lives of SAS doctors is far from over.

“The next step is seeing what the next DDRB pay round brings, and whether it brings us any closer to giving all SAS doctors, on all contracts, what they deserve.”

It is understood the BMA represents more than 6,000 SAS doctors in England.

Industrial strike
Junior doctors in England are set to go on strike later this month (Aaron Chown/PA)

BMA Council chairman Professor Phil Banfield said: “Although this marks significant progress helping to retain more SAS doctors in the health service, the fight for pay restoration and improving the working lives of SAS doctors is far from over.

“This deal shows that it is possible to negotiate a successful end to the doctors’ disputes with the right investment, right offer and improvements to working conditions.

“The Prime Minister should now do the same for junior doctors. It’s not too late for Rishi Sunak to take this opportunity to be known as the PM that successfully settled all the hospital doctors’ disputes in England.”

Junior doctors are set to go on strike from 7am on June 27 until 7am on July 2, just days before the General Election.

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