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, 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 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 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


Hospital Base


Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board

Dr Sandeep Kamath

Princess of Wales Hospital


Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Dr Ben Shooter

Talygarn Unit, County Hospital, Pontypool


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


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 provide an opportunity for SAS doctors to network with each other 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.

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 the implementation of the support strategy for SAS doctors in Wales. A copy of Professor Bullock's report can be found here: pdfFinal_Version_SAS_Support_Strategy_Evaluation_3.pdf

If you have any queries, please email Mrs Carolyn Evans, SAS Support Officer or telephone 029 2068 7896.

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