GMC to ask SAS doctors about workplace experiences for the first time

The one in six UK doctors who are not GPs, consultants nor in training roles are to be asked about their workplace experiences, for the first time, by the General Medical Council (GMC).

The regulator is to survey all SAS (specialty and associate specialist) doctors and locally employed doctors (LEDs) so they can share information about their working practices, opportunities for career development and the support they receive in the workplace.

It will be the first survey of its kind when it opens in in the spring, and follows the publication of a GMC insight paper What do we know about specialty and associate specialists (SAS) and locally employed doctors (LEDs)

Charlie Massey, Chief Executive of the GMC, said: ‘These doctors make a hugely valuable contribution to UK health services, and their numbers are increasing. Yet we understand less about their experiences compared to other parts of the medical workforce.”

“This survey will be an opportunity for them to tell us about their careers, both good and bad, and the support they can access. We want as many doctors as possible to take part in this survey, so it will give us a robust and rich source of data that will aid our understanding and help us, and others, to give them the support they need.”

There are more than 45,000 SAS doctors and LEDs working in the health services. The GMC’s insight paper, based on its data, shows they are more likely to be overseas graduates, particularly from BME backgrounds, and that there are a growing number of female UK graduates working as SAS doctors.

The GMC’s initial discussions with some SAS doctors highlighted that they may experience high levels of bullying and undermining, and they often feel they are marginalised and undervalued. 

However, the GMC also spoke to SAS doctors who were positive about aspects of their roles, including flexibility, work life balance and a stable career. The discussions played a role in the development of the new survey.

The GMC’s survey, which will include questions on training, workplace culture, training opportunities and workload, will open in the spring. The results will be published later this year.