Petition tackles threat to SAS development funds
8 November 2012
A BMA petition has been launched to save development funding for staff, associate specialists and specialty doctors in the south east.
KSS (Kent, Surrey and Sussex) Deanery is pushing ahead with its intention to slash SAS development funding by half this year, despite repeated attempts to overturn the plans.
The BMA is now calling for health secretary Jeremy Hunt to step in and take action against the cuts to the money, which is centrally funded for the professional development of SAS doctors in England.
BMA southern regional staff, associate specialists and specialty doctors committee chair Shaji Geevarghese urged doctors to add their names to the online petition, which aims to collect at least 1,000 signatures.
‘This is not just a local issue but a national one,’ he insisted. ‘We need to have the solidarity and support of all doctors in the country, and particularly those in SAS grades.’
The petition warns that the £419,000 cut in development funding would have a huge impact on SAS grades in the region, leaving these doctors at a disadvantage.
It states: ‘This is the only deanery to have cut SAS funding despite much evidence of the beneficial uses of funding for SAS doctors, patients and the NHS.’
Since its introduction in 2008, the money has helped SAS doctors gain top-up training for certificates of eligibility for specialist registration and paid for secondment opportunities, study days and courses not funded by trust study-leave budgets.
BMA staff, associate specialists and specialty doctors committee chair Radhakrishna Shanbhag has already written to the KSS Deanery and its strategic health authority asking for the decision to be reconsidered.
Recently, he also wrote to the Department of Health director of workforce Nic Greenfield to express his unease over the drop in funding, particularly in the light of revalidation, which will make the continuing professional development needs of all doctors evermore important.
Dr Shanbhag writes: ‘I am concerned that this decision may have been taken in haste with no real consideration for the needs of the SAS doctors it will affect or the processes in place to protect them.’
The petition calls on Mr Greenfield, Mr Hunt and KSS Deanery director David Black to reinstate the SAS funding as a priority.