JUNIOR doctors and dentists from a major union in Scotland have accepted a record 12.4% pay increase averting fears of strike action. 

British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland members have agreed to the offer from the Scottish Government which the union says sets the country apart "from what is happening elsewhere in the UK". 

The agreement means Scotland remains the only UK nation to have avoided strikes in the NHS.

Together with the pay raise of 4.5% awarded in 2022–23, it amounts to a total increase of 17.5% over two years.

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The deal also includes a commitment to future year's pay, contract and pay bargaining modernisation and it brings to an end the threat of industrial action.

Scottish Health Secretary Michael Matheson (below) said: “I am very pleased that BMA members have overwhelmingly voted to accept this record pay deal for Junior Doctors. 

"This is the single biggest investment in Junior Doctor pay since devolution and maintains our commitment to make Scotland the best place in the UK for Junior Doctors to work and train. 

“Due to the meaningful engagement we have had with trade unions, we have avoided any industrial action in Scotland - the only part of the UK to avoid NHS strikes.

“We will now implement this pay uplift, and will work with BMA to take forward the other aspects of the deal including contract and pay bargaining reform.”

The National: Health Secretary Michael Matheson at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank

The news of BMA members accepting the deal comes after some 67.5% of members in the HCSA Scotland ballot backed it with a turnout of just over 74%.

The Scottish Government say the pay deal represents a £61.3 million investment in junior doctor pay – the largest in the last 20 years and the best offer in the UK.

It means a doctor at the beginning of their career would receive a salary increase of £3429 in 2023–24. For those at the end of their training, the rise would be £7111 over the same period. 

Former nurse and SNP MSP Emma Harper added: “Once again Scotland has shown that a better, more constructive way is possible – as the only nation in the UK to have averted NHS strikes.

"That is not an accident. It is testament to the fact that Scottish Government ministers worked constructively to produce an acceptable offer befitting of the vital work junior doctors do, whilst the Tories have done nothing but level outrageous attacks on our NHS staff and unions."

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Dr Chris Smith, chairman of the BMA’s Scottish Junior Doctor Committee (SJDC), said: “This offer moves us from a position where pay restoration was a strongly-held conviction within our profession to a shared goal that the Scottish Government has publicly committed to working with us to complete.

“Earlier this year, junior doctors in Scotland said enough is enough – they were clear that they will no longer stand aside and accept any more sub-inflationary pay awards year after year.

“The strong mandate for striking – with 97% of those who turned out in our ballot voting in favour of industrial action – speaks for itself.

“Key to this offer, that sets it apart from what is happening elsewhere in the UK, is that the Scottish Government recognises this reality and has agreed to ongoing negotiations towards full pay restoration to 2008 levels, with an unprecedented commitment to set inflation as the floor of the pay offer at each round of negotiation.

“This structure will maintain the momentum of our campaign in Scotland for full pay restoration over the next few months and into next year.”