Tory MP slammed for accusing English junior doctors of ‘politicising their pay’

Tory MP accused of making 'totally false' claims over pay offer to junior doctors in England

Doctors strike

The Tory MP Douglas Ross has been blasted for claiming junior doctors in England have been making their pay a ‘political issue in order to challenge the Conservative Government.

The BMA union for junior doctors also hit out at Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, for making ‘totally false’ claims that junior doctors in England had been offered the same deal as their colleagues in Scotland, but had chosen to turn it down because they don’t like the UK Government.

It comes after junior doctors in Scotland voted to accept the Scottish Government’s pay offer, which meant strike action there has been avoided entirely. Voting by 81% to accept the deal, junior doctors in Scotland will receive a pay rise of 12.4%, backdated to April.

The BMA adamantly denied that a similar offer had been made by the Westminster government, as junior doctors in England took their most recent strike action from 11-15 August in the ongoing, bitter dispute over pay restoration and conditions.

In response to the accusations made by Ross, BMA wrote: “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 Douglas Moray 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.”

Speaking in Ayrshire, Ross made the accusations against junior doctors in England and claimed union representatives had rejected the ‘very same deal’ as Scotland.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

He added: “I’m not part of the negotiations through the UK Government but I know there have been a number of offers made, but even if that offer were made, the exact same as what’s been offered here in Scotland, they have said they would not accept it because they want to keep challenging the UK Government.”

In July junior doctors rejected what the UK Government had called their ‘final offer’ of a 6% pay rise, under half of what has been awarded in Scotland. The union said the uplift in Scotland will make a ‘small amount of real terms progress’ to reversing the pay cut of 28.5% junior doctors have experienced since 2008.

Now a third group of hospital doctors are threatening to join the strikes in England if the government fails to make an improved offer, joining junior doctors and consultants.

Specialist, associate specialist and specialty doctors (SAS), who work in hospitals alongside junior doctors and consultants, will be balloted for strike action if there is no movement on pay and conditions, the BMA has warned.

Dr Mohite, chair of the SAS UK committee, said: “Not many people will have heard of SAS doctors, but they play an incredibly important role in the NHS, making up the trinity of hospital doctors alongside consultants and junior doctors.

“Like our colleagues, we have seen our value steadily erode over the past 15 years, leaving many wondering whether they should stay working in the health service.”

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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