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associate specialistA senior middle-grade doctor working in the UK, who has trained and gained experience in a medical or surgical specialty but has not gone on to become a consultant. These doctors usually work independently but are attached to a clinical team led by a consultant in their specialty.
Some of them are listed on the GMC's specialist register and are eligible to take on a consultant post, but have not done so, due to various reasons, e.g., a wish to concentrate on clinical work and avoid the administrative pressures of a consultant post; a desire to have a better work/life balance; lack of opportunity to access higher training posts. Associate specialists take part in the full range of clinical work, including teaching junior doctors. The grade of associate specialist was closed in 2008 and was replaced by the specialty doctor grade. Many associate specialists will remain until they retire. Associate specialist was a non-training career grade post below that of a consultant, but senior to a staff grade physician, which required 10 years of postgraduate experience; associate specialists must satisfy strict manpower criteria, i.e. why the Trust is not appointing a consultant