First GMC survey of SAS doctors opens

The General Medical Council’s (GMC) first comprehensive survey of speciality, associate specialist (SAS) and locally employed doctors (LEDs) opens today (Wednesday, 1 May 2019).

More than 45,000 doctors – around one in six of those on the medical register – who are not GPs, consultants or on a GMC-approved training programme, can now share information about working practices, workplace support and opportunities for career development.

It’s the first time the regulator has conducted a dedicated survey of the tens of thousands of UK doctors working outside of traditional training routes, and will include questions on bullying, undermining and burnout.

Charlie Massey, chief executive of the GMC, said: "These doctors make a hugely valuable contribution to UK health services, but we have less insight than we’d like into the crucial roles they carry out and the unique challenges they face.

"It is important that their voices are heard. Taking part in this survey will help us build a comprehensive view of the issues affecting them, and help us, and others, give them the support they need. We want as many doctors as possible to give us their views."

The launch of the survey follows the publication in March of a GMC insight paper about SAS doctors and LEDs. It revealed that a large number of doctors in these roles are overseas graduates, particularly from BME backgrounds, and a growing number are female UK graduates.

The report highlighted the positive aspects of working in a SAS doctor and LED role, including flexibility and work-life balance. However, it also showed that they are more likely to face bullying and undermining, and have concerns about their professional development.

The confidential survey runs for six weeks until Wednesday 12 June 2019. The results and key findings will be published later this year.