SAS Team Host Conference to Further Career Development Plans

3rd February 2023
Pictured left to right: Specialty Dr Cardiologist, Dr Andrew Kerr, Associate Specialist Critical Care, Chair BMA SAS committee, Dr Leanne Davison, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Lourda Geoghegan, Associate Specialist Old Age Psychiatrist, SAS Lead, Dr Joanne Younge, Specialty Dr General Surgeon and C25 Undergraduate Curriculum Lead, Miss Zarina Bell.

The SAS (Specialty, Associate Specialist and Specialist) Doctor/Dentist Team held their inaugural conference on Tuesday, 31 January 2023 in the Quality Improvement & Innovation Centre, Ards Hospital.

This event welcomed a cohort of current SAS staff and gave them an opportunity to discuss a variety of topics that affect their daily work as well as hear from the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Lourda Geoghegan and Medical Director of the South Eastern HSC Trust, Mr Charlie Martyn.

SAS Doctors/Dentists are specialists that make up 25% of the permanent hospital workforce and provide continuity of care for patients in specialties from Anaesthetics to Rheumatology across the Trust. The profession was highlighted recently by the first ever national SAS Week back in October 2022, which raised awareness of this important career pathway.

The conference marked the first opportunity that the team have had to meet together as a group since the start of the pandemic, staff were able to connect, celebrate their successes and collaborate on future development plans.

Regionally, SAS staff have had to rely heavily on online communication over the past few years due to the severe challenges faced during the pandemic, this has enabled them to develop the first bespoke online leadership program for SAS doctors in Northern Ireland. The program has been accredited by the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) and was listed as a finalist in the recent Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA) Awards.

SAS doctors have also been taking a greater role in medical education within the South Eastern HSC Trust, creating a number of Undergraduate Clinical Teaching Fellows.  Four SAS doctors have completed Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Level 5 training to become coaches and more are undertaking mentoring training. This new network will help to support SAS doctors and other staff across the Trust to develop and provide optimum patient care.