Responding to the news that consultants in England have voted decisively for industrial action, Dr Alan Robertson, chair of the BMA's Scottish Consultants Committee, said:
“We stand in full support of our English colleagues and the strong mandate their ballot has delivered. Equally, the Scottish Government should not be under any illusion that consultants feel any better about their lot in the Scottish NHS as it stands. While last year’s BMA pay survey conducted immediately after the last pay award didn’t suggest an immediate appetite for industrial action, I know there is deep unhappiness, anger and disillusionment among the consultant workforce.
"We have made a strong case this year for a significant pay uplift in 2023/24 for senior doctors, which addresses the severe risk to real terms pay posed by high inflation. This was based on the urgent need to do more to retain doctors at all stages of their careers and take immediate action to tackle the workforce crisis we face. Indeed, the doctor shortage in Scotland has been years in the making, during which time consultants in Scotland have experienced real terms pay detriment, with repeated pay freezes, pay caps and sub inflation pay uplifts. We hope both the DDRB and the Scottish Government will finally listen and start to reverse this trend when the report and their response is published in the coming weeks, but regardless, we will be surveying our members again following the pay award to understand the strength of feeling and the position on strike action across the consultant workforce.
“It is clear that should the Scottish Government go on deprioritising us – both in terms of pay, but also around things such as pension contribution rates, a lack of a clear plan to retain senior doctors in our NHS and how they compensate us for giving up time to cover shifts during the junior doctor strike, then there is no doubt we will be stepping up our response accordingly.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
The BMA press release with details of the English consultants ballot results can be found here.