Dr Chris Smith, chair of the BMA’s Scottish Junior Doctors Committee, said: “Today our ballot for junior doctor strike action opens. Over recent months we have tried, repeatedly, to encourage the Scottish Government to engage with us in meaningful and formal negotiations over full pay restoration and they have repeatedly refused to commit to this. I know junior doctors in Scotland are not only exhausted and on their knees but are increasingly angry and frustrated – I share those sentiments. This ballot gives us the chance to finally have our voice heard loud and clear.
“Enough is enough – junior doctors in Scotland are not worth almost a quarter less than our 2008 counterparts. We have seen our pay drop by 23.5% in real-terms over that time, but we certainly do not do 23.5% less work. This historical injustice must be corrected and our pay restored. Junior doctors are undervalued, demoralised and facing burn out. They are actively looking at exit plans and posts overseas where we are remunerated appropriately for the work we do. No wonder when a newly qualified junior doctor in Scotland can earn as little as £14 an hour.
“This is the Scottish Government’s last chance to engage with us positively, with respect and recognising our concerns about how poor pay is impacting on the workforce, retention of doctors and therefore the care the NHS can provide. I urge the new Cabinet Secretary for Health to make this their number one priority if they want to avoid disruptive strike action, which is almost certainly coming if they continue their current approach. And I urge my junior doctor colleagues across Scotland to vote in our ballot and add their voice to our Scottish fight for full pay restoration.”
Notes to editors
The Scottish junior doctor ballot will run for just over five weeks, from Wednesday 29 March until Friday 5 May.