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New SAS contract available

As the festive season builds and a new year approaches Speciality and Associate Specialists (SAS) dentists and doctors are seeing a reformed contract, offering significant progression from the previous version.

John Ho-A-Yun Lead, Scottish Hospital Dentist Reference Group

The festive season can be a joyous, but also stressful time for some. Although it is a busy time of the year, I would encourage you to engage with the new Specialty Doctor grade and, where appropriate, Specialist grade contract transfer arrangements.

We believe that the reformed Specialty Doctor contract offers significant progression from the old 2008 version, while maintaining some of its better features. The British Medical Association (BMA) has provided an overview of the key features.

Negotiating a new contract

The new contract offers were accepted on 23 November 2022 at an extraordinary meeting of the BMA Scotland SAS Committee, following the BDA and BMA's referendum processes in which relevant members of the two trade unions voted in favour of the new offer.

We have been involved in every step of the contract negotiations.

We have been involved in every step of the contract negotiations. As the lead of Scottish Hospital Dentists Reference Group and a member of the Hospital Dentists Committee, it has been a privilege to be your voice on the BMA negotiating reference group.

The Hospital Dentists Committee has provided much needed support and insight throughout, ensuring that the interests and views of the profession have been sufficiently represented and championed. The fact that members have firmly approved the new contracts is a testament to the work we have carried out on behalf of SAS dentists.

Your options to transfer

Specialty Doctors' health board employers will now look to develop a list of SAS doctors and dentists who are eligible to transfer onto the new contract. You should receive contact from them shortly inviting an expression of interest in transferring.

Please note that you are not legally obliged to transfer even if you have registered an expression of interest

This is open until 6 January 2023 if you wish to transfer with the option of back pay. After this date, the transfer can still happen but without back pay. Please note that you are not legally obliged to transfer even if you have registered an expression of interest.

The new Specialist grade contract is unfortunately not open for direct transfer from the 2008 Specialty Doctor contract or equivalents but is open to Associate Specialist grades. This is where I would advise that any Associate Specialist grade dentists considering this transfer look carefully at the terms, conditions and pay points before committing. This grade will, however, be open to competitive entry to all who meet the criteria.

What happens next?

From 6 January 2023, anyone expressing an interest will be asked to participate in job planning. This process should be completed by 30 April 2023 with a further 28 days to consider the contract offer.

You can access BMA advice and support locally, but this is only open to BDA members. The BMA are willing to provide greater support only if the SAS grade professional has joined the relevant organisation prior to 6 January. For this purpose alone, it would be well worth joining the BDA now, in case of any subsequent job planning issues or queries.

We will continue to monitor the implementation and provision of the new contracts. I wish you all the best that the festive season can bring and a contractually progressive new year.