Staff and Associate Specialist (SAS) doctors

Staff and Associate Specialist (SAS) doctors previously known as NCCG (Non consultant career grade doctors) are a group of doctors who have chosen to stay within this grade or for several reasons have been unable to progress to a consultant grade.

In Wales, there are over 1,000 SAS doctors and they form a significant hospital workforce in the NHS of approximately 20%. Many of these doctors have postgraduate qualifications and are fellows and members of the Royal Colleges. A significant number of these doctors are working at a very senior level independently with increasing responsibility and autonomy.

The professional needs and development of SAS doctors have not been adequately met in the past and the Wales Deanery recognises the need for them to have access to better training opportunities in order to achieve revalidation. They require access to CPD that meets their needs and relates to their career stage and ambitions and delivers a better trained doctor. This will provide them with the knowledge and skills to help them qualify for entry onto GMC Specialist Register and to work as a consultant.

There are three key aims of the Wales Deanery strategy for SAS Doctors:

  1. to develop the local infrastructure to support SAS doctors within each Health Board.

  2. to provide access to additional training opportunities that support their personal development.

  3. to explore and pilot opportunities to introduce a quality assurance framework that will assist them in seeking revalidation.

Mr Raj Nirula, the Associate Dean (SAS Doctors) provides leadership for and facilitates the education, training and career progression for all SAS doctors in Wales.  He is supported by a network of SAS Tutors based in each of the Health Boards across Wales who help facilitate training and career progression for SAS doctors. They are:

Health Board


Email Address

Hospital Base


Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board

Dr Raghu Acharya

Princess of Wales Hospital


Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Mr Suresh Pandalai

Royal Gwent Hospital


Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Dr Julie Jones

Glan Clwyd Hospital


Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Dr Frauke Pelz

University Hospital of Wales

Medical Genetics

Cwm Taf University Health Board

Mr Urmil Chalishazar

Royal Glamorgan Hospital


Hywel Dda Health Board

Dr Hussain Haider

Prince Philip Hospital



Training and recognition

The SAS Tutors have access to funding to put on local training opportunities within their local health board. They have also developed the following editions of the How to series:

The Wales Deanery administers two funding rounds for bursaries to further support SAS doctors’ professional development. We also organise a programme of regular generic training courses for SAS doctors in both north and south Wales. Since 2009 we have organised SAS conferences which have provided an opportunity for SAS doctors to network and to learn more about changes taking place within the NHS. We also recognise SAS doctors for their outstanding teaching or innovation as part of the BEST Awards. We continue to look for alternative quality assurance frameworks to enable SAS doctors to evidence and record their competence and experience.

SAS doctors are invited to submit an evaluation form to the Wales Deanery following completion of their training. This tells us if their CPD needs are being addressed and their feedback is presented to the Associate Dean and SAS Tutors for review and future planning purposes.

SAS Charter

A new Charter which ensures Staff and Associate Specialist (SAS) doctors and dentists in Wales are properly supported in the workplace, and receive the recognition they deserve, has been launched.

Charter for Wales

Support Strategy

Professor Alison Bullock, Professor of Medical and Dental Education Research, Cardiff Unit for Research and Evaluation in Medical and Dental Education (CUREMeDE), at Cardiff University, undertook a review of the implementation of the support strategy for SAS doctors in Wales. Read Professor Bullock's report.

If you have any queries, please contact Carolyn Evans, SAS Support Officer.

Generic Courses - 2018

The Wales Deanery has organised a suite of human factors courses for SAS Doctors and Dentists. The training courses will be held in North Wales and South Wales, and are free to attend. 

The booking needs to be done on-line and please note there are only 25 places per course. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, and the courses do get full extremely quickly. If you wish to attend a course and it is already fully booked, please email as a waiting list is being kept.

Please use Cntrl + Click below to go to the relevant booking page

15 & 16 March 2018 

Human Factors Foundation Course - South Wales (2 day course)

Register here

21 & 22 March 2018 

Advanced Situation Awareness & Error Management - North Wales (2 day course)

Register here

Each year, two SAS Doctors and Dentists conferences have been held (typically one in North Wales and one in South Wales) which have provided an opportunity for SAS doctors to network with each other, to understand the work that the Wales Deanery is doing to support SAS doctors in Wales and to receive vital information on any changes taking place within the NHS.

Applications for Training

The Wales Deanery has allocated funding from its budget for professional development for SAS Doctors/Dentists.  If an SAS Doctor/Dentist is applying for any course or top-up training which they think will help them in their service development, they can apply for funding from the Wales Deanery.  When a funding round is open, all SAS Doctors/Dentists will be contacted via email inviting them to apply by submitting an Application for Funding Form.  Please note that the form will require the signed support of the Clinical Director.  If you wish to ensure you are on the Deanery email distribution list, please contact Carolyn Evans, providing your name, grade, specialty and Health Board. 

This funding is over and above the study leave budget.  The funding is to cover course fees only i.e. not for travel and/or subsistence.  The amount of funding awarded will be determined against the number of eligible applications received and the funding available. After an SAS Doctor has undertaken the professional development, they will need to complete an evaluation form, detailing how the course has benefitted their Health Board and themselves.

If you are an SAS Doctor or Dentist in Wales, and are not on the Wales Deanery email distribution list, please email with your name, specialty, grade and Health Board, and Carolyn will include you on the distribution list to receive timely information.

SAS Doctors' and Dentists Conference

The next conference has been organised for Thursday 14 June 2018 at the St George's Hotel, Llandudno. Click here to register.

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