A new Charter which ensures Staff and Associate Specialist (SAS) doctors and dentists in Wales are properly supported in the workplace and get the recognition they deserve has been launched.

Jointly developed by the Welsh Government, BMA Cymru Wales, NHS employers, and the Welsh Deanery, the Charter set outs the rights and responsibilities of SAS doctors and dentists and their employers.

The focus is on ensuring that the huge contribution of these staff is valued and that their personal development is prioritised. It also sets out the importance of employers taking a zero tolerance approach to bullying, harassment and victimisation.

Specialty and associate specialist doctors are very highly qualified and experienced clinicians in specific areas who do not hold trainee posts.

Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething, today joined representatives from the BMA and NHS employers at Keir Hardie University Health Park to launch the Charter.

Vaughan Gething said: “SAS doctors make up around 20% of the NHS hospital workforce in Wales. They provide high-quality care to patients across Wales day in, day out.

“We know SAS doctors are sometimes undervalued and experience a lack of support for their professional development. We want to see this change.

“The Charter we are launching today will ensure these professionals are valued, that they get the get the support they need to progress in their careers, and that they can go about their work without fear of bullying or harassment.”

Mr Raj Nirula, member of BMA Cymru Wales’ Staff and Associate Specialists Committee said: “Today’s launch of the Wales SAS charter cements a wide-ranging agreement between BMA Cymru Wales, NHS employers, Welsh Government and the Welsh Deanery on the rights and responsibilities of SAS doctors and dentists and their employers.

“The inclusion of protected time for training and other professional activities means that SAS doctors in Wales will be actively encouraged to meet their individual, educational and career development needs.

“Additionally, I am particularly pleased that the charter emphasises a zero tolerance approach to harassment and bullying taking clear steps towards ensuring a safe and supportive workplace for all SAS doctors. Undoubtedly the implementation of the SAS Charter for Wales will result in a more positive experience for both SAS doctors and their patients.”

Allison Williams, Chief Executive at Cwm Taf UHB, said: “SAS Doctors are a critical part of the healthcare workforce. This Charter represents a significant and positive step forward in recognising our joint responsibility for ensuring this staff group have a positive experience of working in NHS Wales and continue to make a valuable contribution to high quality patient care.”

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