Junior doctors  to strike next month after rejecting pay offer

JUNIOR doctors will strike in weeks after rejecting the latest pay offer.

The British Medical Association has confirmed three days of strike action will take place between July 12 and 15.

Junior doctors will walk out for three days next month

Doctors were offered a 14.5 per cent pay rise over two years from the Government last month.

But the medical body said 71.1 per cent of those who voted turned down the offer after a turn out of 66.3 per cent.

Dr Chris Smith, chairman of the BMA’S Scottish junior doctor committee said the walk out was being taken reluctantly.

And there are now calls for an urgent meeting between junior doctors and Health Secretary Michael Matheson, pictured right.

Dr Smith added: “Our membership has once again spoken decisively and clearly. It is beyond doubt that they do not consider this offer sufficient to begin the process of addressing the pay erosion we have suffered since 2008 – when pay for a junior doctor was some 28.5% higher.

“That is why today we can confirm that we are now forced to act on the incredibly strong mandate given to us by members in our preceding strike ballot and announce a full withdrawal of labour for three days from Wednesday July 12.”

Mr Matheson previously said the offer was a “fair and progressive rise” after medics said they need a rise of 23.5 per cent above inflation to bring them back to the equivalent of 2008 levels after years of “pay erosion.”

Industrial action would mean around 5000 junior doctors holding their first ever national walkout in Scotland – echoing the recent strikes in England.

Now, junior doctor members will not provide emergency car and health board will need to arrange emergency cover.

Junior doctors’ pay starts at £27,653, rising to £57,349 for a specialty registrar.

The Scottish Government said the increase was the largest in 20 years.

The offer includes a raise of 6.5 per cent for 2023/24, as well as a backdated increase on the 2022/23 uplift, which the Scottish Government said amounted to 14.5 per cent in total.

SNP ministers said the offer matches the pay award accepted by nurses and other NHS workers on Agenda for Change pay scales last year.

Scottish Labour Health Spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “This is an overwhelming rejection of the SNP government’s failure to stand up for Scotland’s junior doctors and our NHS.

“Junior doctors are central to the functioning of our NHS, but for years the SNP has failed to support them in their work.

“The responsibility for this strike lies solely with Michael Matheson.

“Today I am urging Michael Matheson to get around the table with the BMA and act to avert this strike by providing fair pay and conditions for junior doctors.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, pictured right, said:   “Today’s news might make Humza Yousaf think twice before he indulges in his over-confident boast that Scotland is the only place in the UK where health strikes don’t happen.

“There is no escaping the fact that both staff and patients have never had it so tough, with long waits and wards dangerously understaffed.

“Michael Matheson must escalate talks with the BMA and find a way to bring this dispute to a swift conclusion.”

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