Introduction SAS (Specialist, associate specialist and specialty) doctors are an important element of medical staffing within hospices and palliative medicine and are likely to become increasingly important with the forthcoming workforce challenges and shortfalls. Historically these doctors have not received information and support regarding their learning and development and peer support has been limited to that available within their organisation.
Methods With support from Health Education England NW Palliative medicine SAS leads for the 3 regional networks within the North West (Mersey, Lancashire and South Cumbria and Greater Manchester and East Cheshire) are in place and meet regularly with each other as well as providing support to doctors within their area. As a result of one of these meetings a Study Day was planned specifically for SAS doctors working within palliative medicine in the North West, funded by the SAS Development fund. The programme was designed to cover both clinical and non-clinical development topics and advertised to all eligible doctors.
Results 22 SAS doctors attended and completed evaluation forms. This number represents approximately a third of eligible doctors and was in line with predictions accounting for leave, providing clinical services etc. Average evaluation of the day overall was 4.5/5 with no session scoring below 3.8/5 on average. Attendees were enthusiastic regarding the content, and keen for it to become an annual event. Comments reflected that the opportunities for service development, networking and education were much appreciated.
Conclusions Supporting SAS doctors with educational opportunities targeted at their development needs in conjunction with peer support is welcome and may help staff retention, development and service delivery in the future.
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