Responding to today’s pay award announcement from the Scottish Government, Dr Lewis Morrison, chair of BMA Scotland, said: “This pay award does nothing to undo years of real-term pay erosion for doctors. 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.
“We made a robust, evidence-based case for an award of inflation plus 2 percent, 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. To deliberately fail to recognise the role doctors have, and have had, in leading healthcare in the most difficult of circumstances is very hard to understand.
“Doctors’ jobs and workload have become unsustainable generally, but especially in the face of growing – and under-reported – vacancies. We urgently need to restore morale and improve doctors’ working lives through effective recruitment and retention, workforce planning and measures to improve NHS culture and doctors’ welfare. And yes, through better pay and a clear and urgent plan to address what doctors have lost through pay erosion over many years – this really matters to staff, and it goes without saying that staff matter to our NHS. 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.
“Scottish Government has to reflect on how it really values and treats our medical workforce, if it genuinely wants to ensure NHS recovery and a future of healthcare in Scotland that will meet the needs of its people.
“In response to this hugely disappointing award we will be urgently consulting our members to gauge their views, and what steps we may take as a result.”
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.