‘Specialty doctor’ is a relatively new term and is one of the grades under what is known as the Specialty and Associate Specialist (SAS) 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 focussed 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 that have difficulty getting a training post; or they may prefer the work/life balance in this role as the hours are usually more regular; or they may have a portfolio career i.e. they may have several distinct roles.
Doctors that 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. More info on Medical Careers website>>>