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Scotland Deanery

Home of medical and dental excellence

Developing your Career

This page has been designed to provide important information and useful links for developing your career as a SAS doctor or dentist. If you have specific questions, or you wish to suggest other pieces of information to feature on this page, please contact us at SASDevelopment@nes.scot.nhs.uk.

Webinars and Events

Medical Careers Team Evening Webinars (2024) Trainee Development & Wellbeing Service

These webinars aim to help trainees and trainers plan their careers, while also supporting their professional development. The target audience is suggested in the table below, but all are welcome. Information on the session content and links to register can be found below. If you have any questions, please contact the Medical Careers Team at TDWS@nes.scot.nhs.uk.

Date & Title (all sessions run from 16:30-18:00*)

Target Audience

Monday 20 May - Help! I think I am in the wrong specialty

Doctors - any stage of their career(s)

Tuesday 18 June – Careers and health – how they interact

Doctors - any stage of their career(s)

Wednesday 25 September – Portfolio Careers

Medical students up to (and incl.) consultants

Thursday 24 October - Career planning approaching CCT

ES, TPD, doctors in training within 12-18 months of CCT

Monday 18 November - Working Less than Full Time

F1 and upwards

Tuesday 17 December - Returning to Work after a break

Medical students up to (and incl.) consultants

*The webinars will run from 17:00-18:00 with a 30 minute drop-in ‘Ask the APGD’ session before each webinar for any general Careers questions.


How NES can support SAS wishing to re-enter training

Noting new processes for CESR-CP/CCT

The GMC published updated “Guidance for Deaneries and Colleges on Combined Programme Applications” which noted a change in policy to commence 18 May 2020, indicating that doctors on a combined programme who have completed the minimum amount of time training in the UK will qualify for a CCT.

To summarise the Combined Programme: “Some trainees wish to join an approved specialist training programme having previously undertaken training or gained experience in posts that weren’t prospectively approved by the GMC. The combined programme provides a route through which this previous experience can be recognised and lead to less than the indicative training time spent in an approved programme. Deaneries…and Royal Colleges and Faculties (from here referred to as ‘colleges’) can decide that this non-approved training, experience and/or qualifications has allowed a trainee to develop some of the professional capabilities required by the approved curriculum. The trainee can then enter into an approved training programme above the usual entry point and go on to complete the remainder of the programme within approved posts (although trainees who do not complete the minimum time in approved UK training posts, as defined in EU legislation, will not be eligible for a CCT).”

This approach will be appropriate for some doctors currently employed in a SAS (Specialist, Associate Specialist and Specialty) grade who have gained experience in their SAS post and wish to have their prior relevant experience and skills recognised. These include:

  • SAS who may wish to re-enter training having stepped off the training pathway previously
  • SAS who have not previously been in a formal training role
  • SAS who bring experience from training outwith the UK

Documenting skills acquired in the SAS grade

On being appointed to the SAS grade, the doctor will be linked with their SAS Education Adviser. The doctor is advised that when they take up a SAS post, they are encouraged to keep a record of their practice by using their relevant specialty e-portfolio, access to which is available through their Royal College’s e-portfolio website for an annual tax-deductible fee (see the list of College website links available here). For SAS doctors, as competencies are achieved, these should ideally be formally signed off on e-portfolio by an Educational Supervisor. As SAS are not formally allocated an Educational or Clinical Supervisor with dedicated time in their job plan for SAS, securing formal sign-off of competencies may prove challenging. SAS should approach their Clinical Lead for support, also ensuring that this is included in their PDP.

How to enter Training

  1. SAS who wish to enter or re-enter Specialty Training will need to apply competitively for a National Training Number https://www.scotlanddeanery.nhs.scot/recruitment/
  2. The document “Guidance for Deaneries and Colleges on Combined Programme applications” states: https://www.gmc-uk.org/-/media/documents/guidance---sat---guidance-for-deaneries-and-letbs-re-cp-route---dc5811_pdf-65428220.pdf
  3. Most SAS would benefit from formal specialty careers advice if considering applying for ST training. This is particularly important when discussing their previous training and/or experience and how it aligns to the specialty curricula and recruitment eligibility criteria. The SAS Education Adviser can support this process by advising on potential sources of guidance including referral to the relevant Specialty TPDs or ADs for GP as well as information on College website. Getting more than one opinion may be valuable in helping the SAS doctor to make decisions.
  4. Information is available on the different programmes and posts available in Scotland which includes the training level of the vacancies: http://www.scotmt.scot.nhs.uk/specialty/specialty-programmes.aspx
  5. Information is available on the Oreil recruitment website regarding the eligibility criteria for all posts (Oriel is the application system for all UK training posts): https://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk/Recruitment/Person-specifications
  6. SAS doctors should compare their experience against the eligibility criteria and identify if there are any gaps. This gap analysis will be useful to share with the TPD/AD who can provide advice on how to improve the application if necessary.
  7. In preparation for ST application, recommendations can be made of the specific skills which the SAS doctor could acquire in their current SAS post which would maximise the strength of their application. It may be that some skills may be eligible for a SAS Development Fund application – their SAS Education Adviser can advise on this and support an application where appropriate.
  8. On appointment to a training programme, it is important that there is an early meeting with the Educational Supervisor to enable the SAS doctor undertakes a review of competencies already achieved, mapped to the relevant specialty curriculum. This will facilitate a discussion about the most appropriate level of ST training to work at within the training department.
  9. Formal decisions about the training level and CCT date are made at the first ARCP with the information collected over the training year.
  10. The Deanery will identify that this trainee will apply for entry to the Specialist/GP Register via the combined programme pathway. The deanery will confirm to the trainee which certificate type it is anticipated that they will be eligible for (a CCT or CESR/CEGPR) upon successful completion of their training. However, it should be acknowledged that this could change if the trainee completes more or less training in the UK than currently expected.
  11. The Deanery will contact the trainee’s college to ask them to approve the enrolment and the level, providing the college with the entry level the Deanery believes the trainee should enter at, and the information that has been taken into account in making this decision. This information can be filled in on form CN19 and provided to the college.
  12. The deanery will apply to the GMC for approval of a trainee’s entry into training at a higher entry point than usual via GMC Connect. 

The GMC’s document clarifies the Deanery responsibilities to:

  • Identify when a trainee is working towards the award of a CCT or CESR/CEGPR via a Combined Programme application.
  • Apply to the GMC for approval of a trainee’s entry into training at a higher entry point than usual.
  • Submit information to college in the usual way at the end of training, for trainee to be recommended for a CCT or CESR/CEGPR.


  1. Timeline for SAS doctors to inform their Training Programme Director of the intent to count previous experience towards a Combined Programmed (CESR/CEGPR).
  2. Stakeholders’ responsibilities to accredit previous experience/training towards Training Programme.
  3. Update of systems and notification to relevant Stakeholders.

Responsible Stakeholders

  1. Trainee
  2. Training Programme Director
  3. Deanery Administrator
  4. Placement Board HR
  5. Royal College
  6. GMC

Deanery Procedure

  1. SAS Doctor is appointed to Specialty Training Programme via National Recruitment Process.
  2. Deanery inform trainee (via general welcome email) to consult with Training Programme Director (TPD) of intention to apply for previous training or experience to count towards CCT or CESR/CEGPR.
  3. Trainee informs TPD of intention to apply for previous experience to count towards CCTs or CESR/CEGPR (it is advisable for discussions to take place prior to trainee commencing in their Training Programme; however, trainees have up until one month after commencing in training to inform their TPD). Evidence collected by the trainee prior to commencing training will help with the discussion and decision.

Evidence should include: Up-to-date CV, Gap Analysis and evidence of previous training and experience (e-Portfolio).

The TPD will agree the grade of training in which the trainee should be assessed in which this will be ratified at the first ARCP Review (the ARCP can be scheduled prior to the usual 12-month annual review to determine grade of training). Following the ARCP Review, if the grade of training is higher than point of entry, a CN19 form is completed and sent to relevant Royal College. The CN19 form and College Endorsement Letter will then uploaded to GMC Connect accordingly.

GMC Connect

  1. Training Programme Administrator clicks on ‘Requests’ tab on GMC Connect and selects ‘Add Request’
  2. Training Programme Administrator selects ‘Registration Post Approval’ with Sub Type as ‘CP’
  3. Training Programme Administrator enters details of request i.e. Trainee Name, Programme & CESR-CP Route
  4. Training Programme Administrator adds CN19 Form and College Endorsement Letter as documents with descriptions i.e. CN19, College Endorsement Letter
  5. Once approved by GMC, Training Programme Administrator updates Grade, Programme End Date, NTN End Date and CCT Date on Turas
  6. Deanery Administrator inform Placement Board HR of revised grade of training for contract and payroll purposes

Click here or on the flowchart image to download

SAS Careers Resources 

Click on the below links for useful SAS careers resources for your development:

  • Scotland Deanery webpage - trainee information, careers.
  • SAS Skills Audit - This worksheet will help you to relate your skills to your ability and experience and identify what skills you could develop further.
  • SAS Pros and Cons of Change Worksheet - The pros and cons model is one method for helping you towards making a decision about a possible change in your career.
  • SAS Value Cards - To make a good career choice, you ideally need to be clear about and incorporate your values, along with other factors. This worksheet will help you to clarify your values and what you want out of work. 

Extended Roles for SAS

This document Extended Roles for SAS provides information on adopting extending roles, which means developing your career to take on new / more senior roles which may not necessarily be carried out by all Doctors and Dentists. This document discusses wider roles which can be delivered by a SAS Doctor or Dentist which aren’t direct clinical care, but instead draw on your skills and strengths to develop and support the wider NHS. 

This page was last updated on: 07.05.2024 at 16.52