JUNIOR doctors in England have hit back at Douglas Ross after he suggested that NHS staff south of the Border wanted to make their pay a “political issue”.

The SNP also called on the politician to retract his statement immediately.

Speaking at a visit to businesses in Ayrshire on Thursday, Ross claimed junior doctors in England had the chance to accept the same deal as Scottish doctors but rejected it.

He told The Scotsman: “We’ve actually seen when the junior doctor representatives in England were asked would they accept the very same deal that’s now been accepted, they said no.

"Because they want to make this a political issue against a Conservative government at a UK level rather than getting a deal that works for junior doctors and gets them back to work."

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Junior doctors and dentists from the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland accepted a record 12.4% pay increase on Wednesday, with a commitment to future years' pay rising in line with inflation, which meant that Scotland became the only part of the UK to avoid NHS strikes.

In England, junior doctors have been offered a 6% rise with an additional consolidated £1250 increase.

The UK Government described this as an “average increase of around 8.8%” but it has been rejected, with staff walking out over several days.

Junior doctor members of BMA hit back at Ross’s comments, calling them “totally false” and highlighting that “at no stage” has the Government offered junior doctors in England the deal accepted by members in Scotland.

They tweeted: “At no stage has the Government offered junior doctors in England the deal accepted by our members in Scotland. This claim is totally false.

“If @Douglas4Moray wants to involve himself in the pay for English doctors we would urge him to convince his party leader to sit down with the BMA and negotiate rather than continue to refuse to talk.”

The SNP also slammed Ross for his comments, calling on the politician to retract his statement immediately.

Emma Harper MSP, who is a registered nurse, said: “Douglas Ross must urgently retract his shameful political interjection which disgracefully tars hard-working junior doctors and their representatives who are seeking fair pay.

“As the Tory-made cost of living crisis deepens, public sector workers are looking to governments for support. The UK government’s dire failure to engage with unions in England couldn’t be contrasted further with the Scottish Government’s approach.

“In Scotland, a fair pay settlement has been reached by Government and unions working together, rather than demonising NHS staff.

“Douglas Ross might be playing to his own membership to secure his own shaky position, but comments like these show just how detached the Tories are from the general public.”