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Celebrating the SAS workforce during SAS Week

09 Oct 2023

We’re joining in with SAS Week from the 9-13 October, to celebrate the specialty and specialist doctor workforce.

This week, we’re joining in the celebrations for SAS Week 2023. Organised by NHS Employers, this week gives us an opportunity to celebrate our SAS Fellows and Members, who are a much-valued part of the NHS workforce.

A few members of our SAS Forum have kindly shared stories about their experiences. You can read these below, and we will also highlight them through our social media channels throughout the week. You can join in too, using the #SASWeek23.

SAS as a career choice

Dr Lynne Meekison Associate Postgraduate Dean and Operational Lead for the SAS Programme, NHS Education for Scotland (NES). She’s also the SAS representative on our College Council.

“My decision to take up a SAS grade post was a positive career option for me, which I have never regretted,” Lynne said. “The flexibility of my chosen career path has enabled a good work-life balance, developing a subspecialist area of expertise in a department where I enjoyed working, and providing opportunities to take on wider roles, especially in education.

“Everyone needs to find their own path. The majority of SAS wish to develop their SAS Career as a positive career destination; continuing to develop their clinical skills, and also developing a wider portfolio of interests (teaching, training, appraisal, leadership etc.).

“I would suggest that those considering a SAS career ensure it’s in a specialty they enjoy, find a team/department where they’ll be valued as a colleague and supported to continue to develop.

“And do make the most of any opportunities which arise, whether in their clinical role or taking on leadership or other roles.”

SAS in leadership roles

Catriona Forsyth is a Specialty Dentist and an Honorary Clinical University Teacher in Oral Surgery. She is was appointed Convener of the MFDS exam for our College in 2019, having been an examiner since 2014.

“This role is incredibly rewarding,” said Catriona. “It allows me to be involved in setting exam materials, running exams both in the UK and in our overseas centres, and being a part of developing skills in our future workforce.

“The success of SAS Doctors and Dentists in obtaining leadership roles should be highlighted and promoted as they are a large and diverse workforce who have many attributes that can be brought to the table in College activity.

“Encouraging SAS Doctors and Dentists to take on leadership roles both within the College and in the wider NHS should be a priority as there is a wealth of knowledge that this group of staff can offer that is not yet being explored to its full potential.”

Promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Thisara C Weerasuriya is a Specialty Doctor in Trauma and Orthopaedics in Ayrshire and Arran, based at the University Hospital, Ayr. He is a member of our College Council, and our Inclusion Advisory Group.

“I have been working in the UK for nearly 15 years as a SAS surgeon,” said Thisara. “During this period of my career I noticed various inequalities spanning the whole range of protected characteristics affecting staff and patients in the NHS, be it in England or Scotland, in a negative manner.

“This continuously weighed in my mind and I was constantly seeking ways in which I could make a difference. I got this opportunity when the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow appointed me as a member of the Inclusion Advisory Group.

“Within the group, with the full backing of the College President and the Council, we have made leaps and strides in making the College more inclusive to its members, fellows and staff. This included my own election to the College Council as a member representing the West of Scotland.

“During this SAS week I would like to invite my SAS colleagues to be involved. Unless you are involved it is unlikely we will be able to make positive change.

“Making positive change does not necessarily mean pursuing the CESR route as it is the case in me. There are enough and more roles for SAS Colleagues to be involved in. However, unless you push yourself and get involved, we will not be able to bring about any positive outcomes.”

SAS representation at the College

Through their roles in the College, Lynne, Catriona and Thisara have all brought SAS representation to the heart of our College and beyond.

“By being successfully elected to the College Council, I have also been able to promote the SAS course within the College,” said Thisara. “We have now been able to establish a SAS Forum within the College, which is in its fledgling state at the moment.”

“We are developing our SAS strategy,” Lynne added. “I was also was given a seat on the Academy of Royal Colleges SAS committee; this could open up many more opportunities for someone wishing to take on further roles nationally, too.

“Being made a Fellow of the College felt like a warm welcome into this College family.”

Join us!

We welcome all SAS Clinicians to join us as Members or Fellows of the College – find out more about SAS support at the College

If you’re interested in learning more, please get in touch through

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