Scottish government offers to hold salary talks for English doctors

The offer to send Michael Matheson to help Tory Secretary Steve Barclay comes after medics approved a deal with the Scottish Government.

Last week young doctors in Scotland accepted a record pay increase of 12.4% for 2023/24, in addition to 4.5% for 2022/23, and increases in line with inflation until at least 2026/27.

READ MORE: NHS Scotland: Strike as young doctors accept pay deal

The deal ensured Scotland’s healthcare system is the only one in the UK where there are no strikes.

In England doctors were offered an increase of 6% plus £1,250, or about 8.8% per doctor.

However, they rejected the deal and have just completed the fifth round of industrial action.

In a letter to the UK Government, Mr Matheson said: “I appreciate that, given the UK Government’s intransigence on these matters, relations with the BMA Junior Doctors Committee are at a distressingly low level.”

“I know our colleagues in Wales have been working with the BMA but are facing financial constraints due to the Barnett aftermath and the UK Government’s failure to properly fund these pay arrangements in England.

“To break the impasse I would like to offer the services of myself and my officers to mediate new talks between the UK Government and the representatives of the BMA Junior Doctors.

“At the rock bottom in relations between the UK Government and representatives of NHS England staff, I believe such mediation may be necessary to bring these matters to a conclusion that will benefit patients.”

“The Scottish Government will be happy to host such talks in either Edinburgh or London.”

READ MORE: ‘Absolutely appalling’: Scotland’s A&E performance hits lowest in three months

He said the first step in any negotiation is “the return of the UK government to the negotiating table with no preconditions placed on the BMA.”

Mr Matheson’s offer is unlikely to be accepted, but it follows Mr Barclay’s offer last week to allow Scottish patients on waiting lists to request healthcare treatment in England.

He also pointed out that Wales and Scotland had more NHS delays than England in some areas, something both devolved administrations strenuously denied.

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