North West Orthopaedic Trainees Association ‘SAS Colleague of the Year’

By Antonio Frasquet Garcia
Orthopaedic Specialty Doctor, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust

The trainees of the North West Deanery were keen to recognise the value that SAS doctors bring to their training and in 2023 they presented their first ever ‘SAS Colleague of the Year” award.

I was nominated for the award by the trainees, along with other SAS doctors from the region, and it was incredibly rewarding to be voted as the winner by them. I may have been the physical recipient of the award; however, the winners are all the SAS doctors involved in the training of the future generation of trauma and orthopaedic surgeons. I strongly believe that this recognition has great significance for the role of the SAS doctors.

Along with the SAS Colleague of the Year award, awards were presented for ‘Trainee of the Year’ and ‘Trainer of the Year’ during the Annual Ball of the North West Orthopaedic Trainees Association.

During the evening, I had the opportunity to talk to lots of friends and colleagues that I had not seen for some time. Their warmth and support was overwhelming and I felt delighted to have received the award.



I have been an SAS doctor for 17 years. During this time, I have seen many trainees’ progress in their careers from Foundation Years to Consultant. I have always been very proud to be a part of their journey.

I have never been an official educational or clinical supervisor; however, I have attended courses to become a trainer that have been specifically aimed at SAS doctors, these have helped with my career progression and with my passion for training junior colleagues. I would advise any SAS doctor to attend these courses as their value is immense and they have helped me to be a more confident trainer.

In my opinion, a trainer must have the following attributes:

Humility: A trainer needs to be humble and sometimes will have to admit they do not know all the answers, and may need to seek help.

Credibility: A trainer must make sure they know what they are dealing with, have a plan, and a rescue plan!

Approachable: Trainers should always be happy to help and not dismiss others, especially if they are reaching out for assistance or advice.

Every opportunity is a training opportunity. In clinic, in theatre, walking down the corridor. Take those opportunities to talk, to challenge the trainees, but always do it in a professional manner. Always provide positive feedback. It does not matter if things have not gone as well as expected, always be positive.

I try my best to be the best role model that I can be. During my career, I have had some truly inspirational role models, they have taught and guided me to be a good doctor and to be a better person.

The career of an SAS doctor is a really fulfilling career, which can take you to many places. Like many medical students, I started my career aiming to be a consultant, however not achieving this has not been a failure. I have achieved what I wanted and probably more than I ever thought I would do. I was not fortunate enough to obtain a National Training Number, however that did not stop me to progress and have a rewarding career. During my career, there have been highs and lows, but I would not change being an SAS doctor and will continue to advocate and support the role of SAS doctors. We are a growing group within the NHS and will continue to grow in the future.

To end a great year, I have recently been appointed as a Specialist at Stockport NHS FT.  Being appointed as a Specialist has had great significance to me personally, giving me career progression, a renewed, greater satisfaction in my work, and recognition from my colleagues and senior leaders.

I would like to thank all the trainers that I have had during my career as an SAS doctor, they have helped me to be the surgeon and doctor that I am today, the trainees whom I have been so fortunate to work alongside and provide opportunities to learn, and my family for their support throughout my journey – which still continues.