Pay evidence for doctors in Scotland

One of the key priorities for BMA Scotland is doctor pay. Each year we survey our members for their views on pay to inform our branch of practice committees on their pay strategy for the coming year.

Wallet and notes illustration

Junior doctors

Last year Junior Doctors in Scotland received a pay uplift of 12.4%, which will have started to reverse pay erosion that doctors have suffered since 2008/09.

Figure 1 - FY doctor pay


Figure 2 - Specialty Registrar pay

Figure 1 & 2 – Junior doctor pay erosion. Pay erosion information is updated annually in April/May when inflation over the financial year has been published by the Office for National Statistics. Pay erosion information presented has not changed since summer 2023 when doctors were consulted on Scottish Government’s 2023/24 pay and contract reform offer. However, the pay uplift of 12.4% is expected to be higher than inflation so the degree of pay erosion should reduce. This is indicated on the figure by a dashed line.


This year the Scottish Junior Doctors Committee will directly negotiate pay with Scottish Government. These negotiations are expected to start in late February and conclude at the end of April. The scope of these discussions is already set, since it formed part of the agreement with Scottish Government on pay and contract negotiations that the profession accept in August 2023:

For 2024/25, 2025/26 and 2026/27 a guaranteed minimum uplift of inflation for the financial year to which that pay deal relates. In consideration of inflation, due regard will be given to both CPI and RPI. This ensures no further pay erosion. Moreover, all parties recognise this represents a floor for these years and commit to further talks in each financial year with the aim of agreeing an uplift that is substantial enough in real terms to make credible progress on the path towards pay restoration.

SJDC will be seeking a pay uplift for 2024/25 that continues a path towards full pay restoration. We have prepared more detailed information for our members on junior doctor pay in Scotland.

Consultants and SAS doctors

Last year consultants and SAS doctors in Scotland received a pay uplift of 6% following the recommendations of the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB). Consultants and SAS doctors responding to the BMA Scotland pay survey indicated a desire to withdraw from the DDRB on the basis that its recommendations did not recognise these doctors’ contribution to the NHS. Consultant and SAS doctors have suffered considerable pay erosion since 2008/09.

Figure 3 - Consultant pay

Figure 4 - SAS pay

Figures 3 and 4 – Consultant and SAS doctor pay erosion. Consultant and SAS doctors have suffered considerable pay erosion since 2008/09. The pay uplift for 2023/24 is not expected to be higher than inflation over the same year, meaning that pay erosion of these doctors is likely to be worse when recalculated at the end of the 2023/24 financial year.


This year the Scottish Consultants Committee and Scottish SAS Committee are not participating in the DDRB process and will not submit evidence as in previous years. Instead, SCC and SSASC are seeking direct pay talks with the Scottish Government to deliver improved pay for these doctors. SCC and SSASC have written to the new Cabinet Secretary urgently seeking a schedule of meetings to discuss the pay.

General practitioners

Last year contractor (partner) GPs and salaried GPs should have received a pay uplift of 6% following the recommendations of the DDRB. GP contractor pay requires their practice expenses to be sufficient for the full pay uplift to received. Despite the DDRB insisting that expenses must be covered, the Scottish Government expenses uplifts in 2022/23 and 2023/24 were judged by BMA Scotland to be inadequate, meaning GP pay is expected to be falling. Unfortunately, the complexity of GP contractor pay means that pay information is always behind – NHS Digital estimates of GP pay published in August 2023 covered 2021/22. This means that the impact of inadequate practice expenses uplifts is not yet available.

Figure 5 - GP contractor earnings

Figure 6 - Salaried GP pay

Figure 5 and 6 – GP contractor and Salaried GP pay. WTE vacancy adjusted pay for GP contractors compared to CPI and RPI since 2008/09. Headcount average gross employment earnings (salary) of salaried GPs working in GP practices compared to CPI and RPI since 2008/09.


This year the Scottish GP Committee is participating in the DDRB process – having decided that this is likely to be more favourable to GPs in Scotland than direct pay and expenses negotiations with Scottish Government. The SGPC pay evidence includes:

  • A headline pay award that matches inflation (with due regard to RPI and CPI) plus 3% for all GPs
  • An additional 3% for GP contractors to rectify inadequate expenses uplifts in 2022/23 and 2023/24 that left GP contractors as the only group of doctors not to receive the DDRB’s recommended pay award
  • A specific recommendation that practice trainer grants are uplifted by the Scottish Government pay award going forward

View the full SGPC submission to the DDRB