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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
04 July 2023
Junior doctors to be offered ‘biggest ever pay uplift’, says Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf meets staff during a visit to NHS Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, to mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS | Alamy

Junior doctors to be offered ‘biggest ever pay uplift’, says Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf has said that junior doctors will be offered the “biggest ever pay uplift” to avoid “major disruption” caused by strikes planned later this month.  

The first minister has said the uplift will be the biggest since devolution and could amount to “thousands of pounds” extra for junior doctors.  

His comments come after the Scottish Government confirmed senior NHS staff will receive a 6 per cent pay increase following negotiations with the Doctors and Dentists Pat Review Body. 

Junior doctors are set to walk out between 12 and 15 July after they rejected a pay offer which would have increased salaries by 14.5 per cent over two years.  

Last month health secretary Michael Matheson told unions there was “not an extra pot of money”. While the first offer had been said to be the final deal, after visiting Forth Valley Hospital to mark 75 years of the NHS, Yousaf said he plans to meet with the British Medical Association (BMA) on Tuesday to discuss a new offer.  

He said: “I’m prepared to offer junior doctors the biggest ever uplift seen in the history of devolution, and if accepted, it would put thousands of pounds into the pockets of our junior doctors, and they will be worth every single penny.” 

The first minister said the offer could involve going above and beyond a one-year pay rise or reforming working contracts and working conditions. 

Yousaf added: “There isn’t, I’m afraid, money down the back of the sofa, I think people know that given the difficult financial constraints that the Government is operating under.” 

After a resilience meeting chaired by the first minister and attended by senior ministers and health bosses that looked to put contingency plans in place in the event of strike action, the chair of the BMA’s Scottish junior doctors committee Dr Chris Smith said: “Junior doctors in Scotland have consistently and strongly made clear that the pay offers made so far by the Scottish Government are not yet sufficient to demonstrate a commitment to reverse the years of pay erosion we have suffered, which has seen pay reduced by 28.5% since 2008. 

“No one can seriously argue a junior doctor today is worth that much less than a counterpart 15 years ago. Indeed, our members rejected the Scottish Government’s latest offer decisively. 

“Unless we act now and invest in the future of the workforce, we will go on losing doctors to places they are valued properly, compromising the care we can provide to the people of Scotland now and in the future.”

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