‘Specialty doctor’ is the new term for Specialty and Associated Specialty Grade (SASG) doctors. The specialty doctor post is not a training grade; it is a grade where a doctor has at least 4 years of postgraduate training, two of those being in a relevant specialty. As specialty doctors are not in training, their roles are usually much more focused on meeting NHS service requirements, compared to consultant roles. For example, specialty doctors often have considerably less administrative functions compared to consultants. This may suit some doctors, in fact there are many reasons why doctors might decide to take on a specialty doctor role e.g. they may be overseas doctors who have difficulty getting a training post; or they may prefer the work/life balance in this role as the hours are usually more regular.
Doctors who do not get a specialty training post (due to high competition) may need to become specialty doctors for a period of time. This will also be the case if doctors do not pass their membership exams or assessments.
See article in BMJ as Specialty Doctor as a careers choice