Following the announcement that junior doctors in England have voted overwhelming for strike action over pay, Dr Chris Smith, chair of the Scottish junior doctors committee, said:
“We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in the rest of the UK, and today’s news from our counterparts in England further strengthens our own resolution that strike action is the only option to show the Scottish Government how serious we are over issues concerning junior doctor pay in Scotland.
“Since 2008, junior doctors have received pay freezes and repeated below inflation pay ‘uplifts’ which have failed to recognise our invaluable contribution to the NHS in Scotland. Junior doctors working today receive 23.5% less in their annual salary in real terms than they would have in 2008 – with some first-year junior doctors earning as little as £14 an hour.
“Enough is enough – we must have a full reversal of this historic and unsustainable decline in our pay before it is too late and we lose our highly skilled and valuable workforce to greener pastures. Doctors want what is best for the public and for our patients. But right now we can see that, with the demoralisation caused by poor pay and the resulting exodus of talented and compassionate staff, we are struggling desperately to provide the care that we want - and frankly won’t be able to for much longer.
“Better pay is, incredibly, actually a quick fix on the problem of losing staff. It is a down payment on the future of Scotland’s NHS. It may stop us being poached by an international marketplace and will give people better financial security and peace of mind. Without it, we are in grave danger of doctors throwing in the towel on a career they once loved. I urge junior doctors in Scotland to follow in the footsteps of our colleagues in England and vote in favour of industrial action when our own ballot opens in Scotland.”
Notes to editors
Further information on ballot plans in Scotland can be found below:
For full details on the English ballot, please see their press release.