Published by BBC NEWS - 7th July 2023
  • Published
hospitalImage source, PA Media

Junior doctors in Scotland have called off a planned strike after a new pay offer from the Scottish government.

BMA Scotland said it agreed to suspend next week’s strike while they consult members on the proposal for a 12.4% pay increase for 2023/24.

Alongside a pay rise of 4.5% for 2022/23, this will give a total pay increase of 17.5% over two years.

They had been due to strike between 12 and 15 July after previously rejecting a 14.5% pay rise over two years.

The new deal also includes a commitment to future years pay, contract and pay bargaining modernisation.

The union has recommended that its members accept the offer.

BMA Scotland met with Health Secretary Michael Matheson on Friday to discuss an improved offer which the union said would now be put to its members, who will decide whether to accept it or not.

Earlier in the week, First Minister Humza Yousaf had promised to attend pay talks in a bid to avoid industrial action.

He had warned that a strike would be “very significant indeed” for the NHS and could would lead to “tens of thousands of cancellations of appointments”.

Michael Matheson

Image source, PA Media

The latest offer could end a months-long dispute over pay and working conditions.

The union has said previous pay awards for junior doctors in Scotland had delivered real-terms pay cuts of 23.5% since 2008.

It has called for a 23.5% pay increase for junior doctors – fully-qualified medics who are not specialty staff doctors, consultants or GPs.

They make up 44% of the doctors in the NHS in Scotland.

BMA Scotland said the pay deal was reviewed by the Scottish Junior Doctors Committee (SJDC) in an emergency meeting on Friday.

Committee chair Chris Smith said the improved offer involved “compromise on both sides” and was a “genuinely credible and workable pathway towards pay restoration”.

Dr Smith said: “At this stage, our negotiation team feels we have reached the limit of what can be achieved this year and does not think strike action would result in a realistically improved offer.

“Equally, it could potentially endanger the commitment that the Scottish government has offered to work with us to achieve pay restoration as an alternative to a sustained and escalated industrial dispute.

“It is our view that acceptance of this offer is the best way of achieving full pay restoration for doctors in Scotland.”

The SJDC has recommended that the offer is accepted.

Mr Matheson said: “I hope this investment and the significant commitments we have given around pay and contract reform will show junior doctors how much we value them, and that we are determined to ensure that Scotland is the place for junior doctors to work and train.

“Some patients may have been contacted to say their treatment has been cancelled.

“We are working hard with health boards to make sure appointments that can go ahead do, and that any others are rescheduled as soon as possible.”




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