NHS consultants 'in formal dispute' with Scottish Government, union says

BMA Scotland said consultants north of the border 'risk being the worst paid in Britain'.

NHS consultants ‘in formal dispute’ with Scottish Government, BMA Scotland says iStock

NHS consultants have entered into a “formal dispute” with the Scottish Government, the union representing doctors has said.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said ministers had offered a date for pay talks to begin in August.

It said that while it welcomed the move, it “now regards itself in formal dispute with the government”.

The union said it would begin preparation to go ahead with a ballot on industrial action.

BMA Scotland said its members are “angry and frustrated over lack of progress on pay talks” and claimed that recent pay deals in England and Wales mean Scottish consultants “risk being the worst-paid in Britain”.

Dr Alan Robertson, chair of the union’s Scottish consultants’ committee, said: “This is an important moment for us.

“It signals that we will no longer stand for being ignored. Consultant vacancies in Scotland are at 15% and our NHS is on its knees.

“The link between the two is not hard to make. Unless we start valuing our senior doctors properly there is no way our NHS can be made sustainable in the long term.

“The Government knows that – it’s why in the past they have made significant noises about Scottish doctors being the best paid in the UK.

“It’s time they lived up to their words on this.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said it is “disgraceful” that Scotland’s consultants have entered into a dispute, which she said was “due to the intransigence of this SNP government”.

She added: “While crowing about the lack of strikes in Scotland’s NHS, this SNP government has failed to listen to Scotland’s doctors and support them in their work. 

“The NHS has been plunged into crisis by the SNP – with hundreds of thousands of Scots paying the price. 

“Under the SNP, Scots are being forced to go private for vital treatment and the founding principles of our NHS have been eroded.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The health secretary has arranged to meet with the chair of the BMA Consultant Committee on June 27, and formal pay negotiations will commence on August 15 2024.”

The Liberal Democrats, Scottish Greens and Scottish Conservatives have been contacted for comment.

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