Pay rise for NHS medical and dental staff

Medical and dental staff working for NHS Scotland are to receive a 2.8 per cent pay increase, backdated to April 1.

By Neil McGrory, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 2:10 pm
Back in May staff at the Forth Valley Royal Hospital clapped for the NHS, carers and all essential workers. Photo: MIchael Gillen

The award was announced by health secretary Jeane Freeman, who said: “The continued hard work and dedication of staff makes our NHS the treasured institution it is, and ensures that the people of Scotland continue to receive world class healthcare.

“This uplift demonstrates that we fully value all our medical and dental staff and the important contribution they make.

“It’s crucial that we continue to not only recruit and build our future NHS workforce, but also retain expertise within NHS Scotland.

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“This announcement means that our senior medical staff will continue to be the best paid in the UK. This will help to ensure that NHS Scotland remains an attractive employment option for medical and dental staff.”

In response to the Scottish Government’s announcement, BMA Scotland chair Dr Lewis Morrison said: “Doctors in Scotland have had up to 30 per cent real-term pay cuts over many years and almost all recent pay uplifts have fallen short of being acceptable.

“We know this has had a cumulative detrimental effect on recruitment, retention and morale. Over this time doctors’ jobs have become more intense and demanding with evidence of excessive workloads and spiralling demand, whilst covering for growing and often under-reported medical vacancies.

“Add to that the huge efforts of medical staff during many months of the Covid-19 pandemic and it’s clear that reversing that decline is more necessary than ever.

“Today’s announcement is therefore a further step in the right direction after marginal progress last year. It does to some extent acknowledge the effort of doctors who have led the response to Covid-19. But there’s a long way to go to reverse the negative impact of over a decade of previous pay announcements.

“So we welcome the fact that the Scottish Government has listened to the profession by this year accepting the DDRB’s recommendation of 2.8 per cent for all doctors.

“It demonstrates an understanding and recognition of the huge contribution doctors make, reflects the value of the working relationship with government that we’ve developed during the pandemic, and we hope that it is the start of a more positive trend. It represents one of many steps on the long road to restoring morale and improving doctors’ working lives which include the need for effective recruitment and retention, workforce planning and measures to improve NHS culture and doctors’ welfare.

“We need a concerted effort across all those issues in order to demonstrate that doctors are truly valued, so that they want to train and stay in Scotland and care for its population.”

British Dental Association vice-chair Eddie Crouch added: “These are difficult times for colleagues, and that NHS dentists aren’t being handed another pay cut will offer some comfort.

“Before Covid-19 hit years of pay restraint had already taken their toll. Above inflation increases are starting to repair that damage, and now must be pursued in tandem with other needed action to keep this service afloat.

“We’ve secured needed progress on abatement and pay. We now need to see a concerted strategy to ensure the nation’s dental services – both NHS and private – have a future.”