FSRH statement: first GMC survey of SAS doctors shows many are not able to access training

Posted 9 January 2020

Date: 09 Jan 2020

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) welcomes the initial results of the first survey of specialty and associate specialist (SAS) and locally employed (LE) doctors by the General Medical Council (GMC). We call for greater support for SAS doctors, who have a leading role in providing sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH) services in the community.

The initial findings of the survey show that the SAS doctor role now includes wider responsibilities, with 74% reporting training others as part of their role. Many SAS or LE doctors report satisfaction with their career choice. However, the results also show that more than 40% of SAS doctors report difficulties in accessing continued professional development (CPD) opportunities.

Jane Dickson, Vice President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:

“We welcome the GMC’s initiative to take a deeper dive into this key part of the medical workforce and look forward to supporting its work on a four-country action plan.

“SAS doctors are vital to the sustainability of sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH) services. Often, they are the only SRH leads supporting the provision of care across whole geographic areas. Therefore, it is deeply concerning that presently more than 40% of SAS doctors cannot access training.

“Last year’s Spending Round pledged an increase to the Health Education England budget, specifically committing additional funding for CPD and wider education and training budgets to support delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan. We call for this funding to support CPD for SAS doctors as well as for a long-term funding solution for education and training in a comprehensive spending review.

“We also call on the Department of Health and Social Care to follow through its commitment, in the NHS Long Term Plan, to introduce a reformed associate specialist grade to provide new opportunities for progression within a specialty and associate specialist career.

“At FSRH we are actively supporting SAS doctors. We have a dedicated SAS lead and are committed to having SAS representation on all our committees. We are supporting those in senior positions to undertake their certificate of eligibility for specialist registration with dedicated mentorship and bursaries.”


For further information and press queries please contact Camila Azevedo, External Manager, at externalaffairsofficer@fsrh.org / 02037945309

Notes to editors:

  • The GMC is the regulator responsible for setting standards for doctors, overseeing education and training as well as managing the medical register. It has just published the initial results of its first ever survey of SAS and LE doctors. It aims to publish outcome of this work and plans for the future later this year. The initial findings can be accessed here.
  • FSRH has been calling for increased investment in education and training for the SRH workforce. The Health and Social Care Committee launched an inquiry last year to examine the funding required for NHS capital, education and training, social care and public health to implement the NHS Long Term Plan. Responding to this inquiry, we noted that cuts to education and training budgets threaten the sustainability of the workforce. We called for funding for education and training to be restored, so as to support the workforce to deliver the NHS Long-Term Plan. You can read our written submission here.
  • The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK professional membership organisation working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), supporting healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. It works with its 15,000 members, to shape sexual reproductive health for all. It produces evidence-based clinical guidance, standards, training, qualifications and research into SRH. It also delivers conferences and publishes the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health in partnership with the BMJ.