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HCSA pledges to continue campaign for a better deal for SAS doctors

HCSA has pledged to continue to campaign for a better deal on pay and terms for SAS doctors in England after the BMA and the government agreed a settlement which leaves key questions unanswered.

HCSA President Dr Naru Narayanan warned that career barriers faced by many SAS doctors and locally employed doctors working to the same level would not disappear — and restated the union’s commitment to the SAS Six pledges aimed at tackling the issue.

Polling among HCSA members over the deal showed that pay remains a key concern, in particular for those on older contracts. Dr Narayanan said that SAS doctors shouldn’t be expected to now remain silent on years of real-terms pay cuts.

“Many HCSA SAS members remain angry at the deep unfairness facing those who have not switched to a new contract which remains unpopular. We’re concerned we will see continued attempts to browbeat people into switching to new terms by suppressing their pay. It’s absolutely unacceptable and hugely damaging in terms of retention.

“Wider pay remains an issue, too, and SAS doctors cannot now be expected to meekly remain silent.”

He added that the vague pledges to look into the exploitation of LEDs and consider ways to improve the working lives of SAS doctors fell short of the SAS Six “roadmap”.

The six firm policies backed by HCSA include better educational and professional development opportunities, automatic promotion opportunities, expanded opportunities in management and education, and a commitment that any LEDs working as a de facto SAS doctor should become SAS grade within two years.

“HCSA is going to be closely scrutinising developments in the non-pay elements of this deal. We’re clear on the issues which matter to SAS doctors in England and if there’s no progress we will be the first to call this out.

“We can’t allow these issues to be kicked into the long grass or get bogged down in endless working groups where they are watered down. These points are non-negotiable and the least that we need to get a fairer deal for SAS doctors.

“We’ll be lobbying the incoming government to sign up to the SAS Six in full, and making it clear that the matter of pay remains unfinished business.”

Read more about HCSA's endorsement of the SAS Collective.