Pay rise confirmed for NHS medical and dental staff in Scotland

Union leaders have accused the Scottish Government of overseeing “real-term pay erosion” after a 4.5 per cent pay rise was announced for NHS medical and dental staff.

The pay uplift applies to all NHS Scotland medical and dental staff, general medical practitioners and general dental practitioners.

The wage rise will be backdated to April 1, coming against the backdrop of the Covid pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

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Staff work at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Falkirk. Picture: Michael Gillen

But British Medical Association (BMS) Scotland chair Dr Lewis Morrison described the deal as a “hugely disappointing award” as he stressed doctors’ jobs and workload had become unsustainable amid growing and under-reported vacancies.

"In the face of spiralling inflation, this is still a large real-terms pay cut, which will be hugely damaging to the morale of an already exhausted and depleted workforce, after two-and-a-half years leading our country’s response to the pandemic and the years of vacancies and escalating demand that preceded that,” he said.

“We made a robust, evidence-based case for an award of inflation plus 2 per cent, that would genuinely value doctors and help retain them in the NHS at a time when we need every single doctor we currently have, and many more.

"Indeed this pay award is even lower than the poor offer that has been made to other parts of the NHS – singling out doctors and devaluing our contribution even further.”

Dr Morrison added: “We need doctors to want to train and, crucially, stay in Scotland. We are losing too many at all career stages to places like Australia, New Zealand, Canada where staffing, pay, workload and work-life balance are often better.”

A deal was struck after the Government accepted a recommendation from the independent Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body to award the pay increase.

A Government statement said the wage boost added to the 3 per cent uplift announced last year, meaning affected staff had been awarded a 7.5 per cent pay increase overall in the past two years.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The continued hard work and dedication of staff ensures that the people of Scotland continue to receive world class healthcare as we remobilise NHS services and tackle waiting times.

“This uplift demonstrates that we value all our medical and dental staff and the important contribution they make. It’s crucial that we continue to not only recruit and build our future NHS workforce, but also retain expertise within NHS Scotland.

“This announcement means that our senior medical staff will continue to be the best paid in the UK. This will help ensure that NHS Scotland remains an attractive employment option for all medical and dental staff.”

It comes as it was announced more than a million NHS staff in England would get a pay rise of at least £1,400, with lowest earners getting up to 9.3 per cent.

Police in England and Wales will get £1,900 salary uplift, equivalent to 5 per cent overall pay award.

But the offer was equally criticised by unions south of the border, with one leader warning of co-ordinated strike action.

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Ministers seem intent on running down the NHS, showing scant regard for the millions of people languishing on waiting lists for tests and treatment."

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