THE leader of the country’s largest health union has suggested that nurses based in England could move to Scotland to work because of better pay. 

Unison’s general secretary Christina McAnea said the £2500 gap between wages could have “potentially significant consequences” for hospitals and English trusts close to the Border.

This comes after 57% of her members voted to accept the “final and best” pay offer put to NHS staff by the Scottish Government. 

Unite also confirmed its members voted “yes” by 64% to the improved offer meaning strikes which were set to hit ambulance services and the NHS have now been called off.

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The deal has added to the pressure on the UK Government to take part in negotiations with health services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

At the weekend, a nurses’ union leader praised Nicola Sturgeon for the way she engaged in pay talks which led to the strikes initially being paused. 

Speaking to Radio 4, McAnea said the deal was “significantly more than is being offered in the rest of the UK”. 

She said: “What they’ve been given from the pay review body in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is £1400. 

“What they’ve been given in Scotland is between £2205 and £2750 so it’s about £800 a year more.”

McAnea continued: “Most nurses in the NHS in Scotland, even after this, but even before it were also earning a lot more. 

“Roughly a nurse earns about £2500 a year more in Scotland than they do in England. So for those trusts on the Border between Scotland and England, this will have potentially significant consequences for them. 

“But the message to the Government I would say, and what the Scottish settlements I think demonstrates, is they were prepared to sit down and talk to the unions. 

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“We met them a few weeks ago and they made us an offer which wasn’t accepted. They continued to negotiate with us, and we’ve now gone out and consulted on an offer which, as I say, our members have accepted. 

“What we’re facing at the moment in England is they will not talk to us about pay.”

The resolution of the NHS strikes in Scotland also comes as a new wave of industrial action begins on the rail network across the UK. 

Although the Scottish Government resolved a dispute with ScotRail workers in the RMT, members of the Network Rail remain in negotiations with the UK Government.