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This week, 9-13 October, is SAS Week, recognising and raising the profile of our SAS (specialist, associate specialist and specialty) doctors and showcasing the knowledge, experience and expertise that they bring to their roles every day.

SAS doctors are specialty and specialist grade doctors with at least four years of postgraduate training, two of which are in a relevant specialty.

The GMC’s most recent annual report showed that SAS and locally-employed doctors are the fastest growing group of doctors in the UK and that, by 2030, they could be the largest group in the medical workforce overall. They are a much valued part of the NHS workforce, form a core part of our Trust, and are also involved in departmental activities such as teaching, governance, and management.

We have over 250 SAS doctors at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and this week we recognise and thank them for the part they play in Team MTW!

Below are the thoughts of some of our SAS leaders about the role they play, and we meet just a few of our fantastic SAS Doctors.

SAS Tutor, Dinesh Balasubramaniam, said: “It is heartening to see these profiles of SAS doctors and the details of the specialist independent service and the work we do on a daily basis. It is evident that we are all proud of what we do and the positive support we get from the Trust and every specialist directorate. This make us feel valued for the work we do.”

SAS Advocate, Sanjay Joshi agreed, commenting: “we are blessed with a large cohort of SAS Doctors performing at a high level within our departments. The recognition of the SAS Doctor role is improving vastly but there is still more work to do. I congratulate all my SAS colleagues for their excellent work.”

Meet our SAS Doctors

Dr Ahmad Badri

“I’m a Speciality Doctor in Anaesthesia and I started the Trust in 2007.

As a Speciality Doctor, I work independently in anaesthesia, overseeing operations, covering labour ward and emergency services. I’m happy as a Speciality Doctor because my main bulk of work is clinical services. It offers flexibility in my career and job and I think I contribute a lot to the services in the Trust, especially in critical care.

I am lucky to work in the Anaesthetics department at MTW which is very supportive.”

Dr Hatim Albirnawi

“I’m a Specialist General Surgeon with an interest in Upper GI and Bariatric surgery.

I have been working as Specialist since 2021, and I run various clinical activities in Upper and Lower GI in addition to cancer clinics. I also have independent theatre sessions. I chose to become an SAS Doctor because I saw success stories from SAS Doctors who went on to become consultants. I found this very inspiring given there is such a competitive field across different specialties.

Since I became an SAS Doctor my career progress has grown enormously and made me more independent in my practice. I can’t thank the SAS team more for all the support I have had.”

Dr Mahmud Riad

“I joined the Trust as a Specialty Doctor in Surgery in 2019. From the beginning I had lot of support and encouragement from the SAS group here and good support from SAS leads in terms of career and progression.

I’m am a Faculty member for Royal College of Surgeons courses and I have successfully completed my Master’s, which might not have been possible without SAS funding. I am now building up my portfolio according to GMC CESR guidelines to apply for specialist registration.

Overall, the SAS group at the Trust is really active, helpful, supportive and act as a prime framework for SAS specialists to build up their positions and practice. Being an SAS surgeon, I am proud to be here to serve our patients and the Trust.”

Dr Nadira Rahman

“I’m a Specialty Doctor in Obstetrics & Gynaecology and I joined MTW in 2019. Currently I am running my own clinics, independent on calls and surgical procedures. I take an active part in medical student and foundation trainee teaching along with my departmental teaching and I am also doing a postgraduate certificate in medical education.

I’ve found my SAS group at MTW very helpful and supportive.

I’m a proud SAS Doctor and currently doing my advanced training in the labour ward and medical education which is a prerequisite of my CESR pathway application.”

Dr Rakshith Prasad

“I’ve been working as a Specialty Doctor at the Trust since 2017.

I now enjoy working independently, with distant supervision, on theatre lists in a range of specialties. I also help provide cover for the smooth running of our critical care services. I’m involved in a few audit projects and teaching junior trainees and medical staff during their time in theatres.

The Specialty Doctor role has its perks, one of which is that a higher percentage of time is spent dealing with clinical situations and patient care, and it provides stability that I personally appreciate, ensuring the family is not disrupted by the constant moves/long commutes required in some other roles. It also means you develop long lasting professional relationships with your colleagues.”