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Junior doctor strikes suspended after new pay deal offered

The offer amounts to a 12.4% over the next year at a cost of more than £61 million to the Scottish Government.

Junior doctor strikes due to start next week in Scotland have been suspended after a new pay deal was offered by the Scottish Government.

BMA Scotland said the new offer amounts to a 12.4% pay increase this year, an improvement on the 14% over two years previously proposed by ministers.

A three-day walkout, which was due to start on July 12 has been averted to allow the union to ballot its members.

Health Secretary Michael Matheson, who was in “intense negotiations” with the union to avert the strike, said he hoped the offer “will show junior doctors how much we value them”.

Dr Chris Smith, the chair of the union’s Scottish junior doctor committee, said: “At this stage, our negotiating team feel they have reached the limit of what can be achieved this year and do not think strike action would result in a materially improved offer.

“As a result, we have agreed to suspend next week’s strikes and put this offer to our members.”

Along with the pay increase, the Scottish Government has also committed to negotiate for better working and training conditions for junior doctors by April 2026, as well as the creation of a new pay review mechanism.

Dr Smith added: “This is an unprecedented shift from the Scottish Government, which is a recognition of the huge decline in real terms pay that doctors have experienced over the past 15 years, and the huge amount of work needed to undo the damage this has caused to the NHS.

“By agreeing to address the way our pay has been cut, and setting out a clear mechanism for doing so, the Government is making a serious, welcome commitment to ensuring that pay for junior doctors in Scotland is restored to a fair level.”

Dr Smith, however, said the union’s mandate for strike action “still has months to run, so all options will remain open”.

Mr Matheson welcomed the news, saying: “Following months of negotiations with BMA Scotland, I am delighted that we have agreed a pay deal for 2023/24 for our junior doctors.

“BMA Scotland have agreed to suspend strike action in Scotland while they consult with their members.

“I hope this investment and the significant commitments we have given around pay and contract reform will show junior doctors how much we value them, and that we are determined to ensure that Scotland is the place for junior doctors to work and train.

“Some patients may have been contacted to say their treatment has been cancelled.

“We are working hard with health boards to make sure appointments that can go ahead do, and that any others are rescheduled as soon as possible.”

The Scottish Government said the offer amounted to a total of £61.3 million, and will result in a doctor beginning their career seeing an increase of £3,429 per year, while those at the end of their training will see a boost of £7,111.

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