College responds to junior doctor pay offer rejection

The College was concerned to learn that the pay offer to junior doctors in Scotland was rejected.

In May, the Scottish Government offered junior doctors an aggregate 14.5% uplift over two years, plus a commitment to discuss a change to the system of pay reviews in future. BMA Scotland put the offer to its members with no recommendation.

The results of the consultative vote saw 71.1% vote to reject the offer, in a turnout of 66.3%. Consequently, BMA Scotland has announced a full withdrawal of labour for three days from Wednesday 12 July.

While the College is not a trades union, and as such does not participate directly in negotiations about terms of service, we are urging talks between BMA Scotland and the Scottish Government to continue.

Commenting, Professor Andrew Elder, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh said:

The College is concerned that a settlement on junior doctors’ pay is still to be reached in Scotland. However, we are aware of the strength of feeling amongst many “junior” colleagues, we understand their perspective and as such, the result of the ballot is not entirely surprising.

This result now means that strike action is possibly only a few weeks away. A strike in the middle of summer, when many consultants are on leave, could be problematic for the health service; this is a troubling prospect for patients.

However, we also recognise the longer term impact on patient care should the Scottish NHS fail to recruit and retain doctors in what is now an increasingly global and competitive market for medical labour.

The College strongly urges further talks between BMA Scotland and the Scottish Government – strike action can still be averted.