Junior doctors suspend strikes after new inflation-busting pay offer

The doctors' union, BMA Scotland, has agreed to put the improved deal to its members.

Scotland’s junior doctors suspend strikes as they consider inflation-busting pay offer iStock

Junior doctor strikes have been suspended after a new pay offer was made by the Scottish Government.

The doctors’ union, BMA Scotland, has agreed to put the improved deal to its members.

This year, junior doctors would receive a pay rise of 12.4%.

For the following three financial years, they would receive a guaranteed minimum pay uplift of inflation every year.

In addition, BMA Scotland will enter contract negotiations with the Scottish Government in autumn this year with the aim of improving the working and training conditions of junior doctors in Scotland by April 2026.

Junior doctors had been poised to walk out for three days from July 12 to July 15 next week after the BMA union said years of “pay erosion” had left them with a significant real-terms pay cut since 2008.

However, the BMA’s Scottish Junior Doctor Committee (SJDC) unanimously agreed on Friday it would recommend members accept the offer in a consultative vote in the coming weeks.

Dr Chris Smith, chair of the SJDC, said: “This has been an intense period of negotiation with the Scottish Government.

“At this stage, our negotiating team feel they have reached the limit of what can be achieved this year and do not think strike action would result in a materially improved offer. As a result, we have agreed to suspend next week’s strikes and put this offer to our members.

“This offer commits the government to working with doctors to restore our pay and prevent pay erosion from occurring in the future.

“This is an unprecedented shift from the Scottish Government, which is a recognition of the huge decline in real terms pay that doctors have experienced over the past 15 years, and the huge amount of work needed to undo the damage this has caused to the NHS. 

“By agreeing to address the way our pay has been cut, and setting out a clear mechanism for doing so, the Government is making a serious, welcome commitment to ensuring that pay for junior doctors in Scotland is restored to a fair level.”

Health secretary Michael Matheson said he was delighted to have agreed a pay deal with junior doctors following “months of negotiations”.

“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,” he said.

“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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