Junior doctors in Scotland are “standing up for the future of the NHS” and are set to strike after members of the BMA have rejected the latest pay offer.
The Scottish government offered to give a 14.5% pay increase over two years, this was rejected and strike action will take place on 12 to 15 July unless an improved offer is put forward.
Dr Chris Smith, chairman of the union’s Scottish junior doctor committee, said that strike action is the “absolute last resort.”
Dr Smith told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “We do recognise that appointments will be cancelled, and operations will be cancelled and that’s why we’ve called on the Government to come back with a better offer to avoid this if we can but, if not, junior doctors are clear – we are standing up for the future of the NHS, the future of our profession by taking this absolute resort of strike action.”
Speaking on the Scottish Government offer, he said, “Since 2008 we’ve had a real terms pay cut of 28.5% so this didn’t even come close to bringing us back to where we were 15 years ago.
“Over the two years that would have entrenched the pay erosion that we’ve seen, and that pay erosion is partly responsible for doctors leaving the NHS in their droves.
“Our pay has been cut by 28.5%, we’re just asking to be brought back to where we were.
“We’re not asking for a pay rise we just want to be back to what we were in 2008 when we think the NHS was working better and there were more doctors.”
He added, “It’s my job to go back to the Government to say we need a better offer and if we don’t get a better offer from you there will be strike action from July 12.
“The ball is firmly in the Government’s court to come back with a better offer and we can work together to avoid the strikes if we can.”
Scottish Health Secretary Michael Matheson said, “I respect the outcome of the ballot. We negotiated in good faith, addressing concerns from junior doctors, but this was only the start of the journey, not the end.
“This was the biggest investment in junior doctor pay for the last 20 years and a step forward to modernising pay-bargaining, restoring confidence amongst junior doctors and ensuring that their contribution to our healthcare system is appropriately recognised.”