SAS Doctors

SAS ophthalmologists, including Associate Specialists, Specialist Grades, Specialty Dr, Locally Employed Drs(Trust), make an enormous contribution to delivery of care in the NHS and are the backbone of the NHS. We as a college support our community and variety of the workforce.

Many doctors choose to become SAS doctors for the greater flexibility and better work life balance the role can offer. The roles of SAS doctors vary and the SAS grade has changed through the years.  They are acknowledged as an important and valued part of the ophthalmic workforce.

I find my career to be a rewarding alternative as an SAS Doctor. Having a steady base hospital, and flexible working with our close MDT team, have been a major bonus in my working life. Autonomous working and a healthy supportive environment have been an asset in this role.

Dr Swetha Maddula-Batambuze, RCOphth SAS Chair
  • Some doctors have gained Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) and are now consultants
  • Others have chosen to stay as SAS doctors working under consultant supervision in the multidisciplinary team
  • Some, depending on experience, work autonomously in their departments
  • SAS doctors can perform intraocular surgery, laser treatments, work in subspecialist as well as general clinics
  • SAS doctors can perform appraisals, educational roles, research, be clinical audit or governance leads and, with relevant training, can become a clinical lead or director

SAS doctors are welcome to become a fellow or member of the RCOphth, as well as an affiliate member if preferred – take advantage of membership benefits, register for CPD and e-Portfolio which is very helpful to provide supporting evidence for appraisal, together with CPD certificates. Read more about the value of becoming a member of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists.


Read the report from Health Education England and NHS Improvement on Maximising the Potential: essential measures to support SAS doctors

Find Out More

Find out about how SAS doctors can improve their career development and continue to play a vital role in the NHS hospital eye service.

Development Guide

The British Medical Association, Health Education England, the Academy and NHS Employers have worked together to produce this guidance on the development of SAS doctors in the NHS in England.

SAS Charters

In collaboration with NHS Employers, Health Education England and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the British Medical Association published the SAS charter for England in 2014. The BMA have since adapted the SAS charter for all other UK nations.

Job Planning

An introduction by the British Medical Association to the basics of job planning, including how the process should work, what the job plan should contain and other keys points that you should be aware of.

Leadership Development

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges promotes greater SAS involvement in medical leadership.