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A 3% pay rise is simply not good enough for Scotland’s GPs

Dr Iain Kennedy says the 3% offer is adding insult to injury for those GPs who did not benefit from the new Scottish GP contract

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So, the DDRB recommended 4%, but Scotland’s GPs have been offered a 3% pay rise.

Many of us believe the Scottish government has used the new Scottish GP contract as an excuse for not giving us what the DDRB recommended.

It is exactly what I and many others predicted would happen.

We were assured by our negotiators (wrongly) that the new contract would not be used as a reason for a pay offer below that recommended by the DDRB this year. But that’s exactly what has happened.  

Some are being insensitive to those GP colleagues who received no pay rise in the new contract

And because two thirds of Scottish GPs had a financial incentive to vote for the new contract, the Scottish Government clearly believes that Scotland GPC (SGPC) will be shamed into rolling over.

The problem is that evidently, given the paucity of protests, two thirds of Scotland’s GPs are clearly delighted – for a second time this year.

I will not be silent. I will speak up for all of Scotland’s GPs.

Fortunately Dr Lewis Morrison – the geriatrician and strong trade unionist – was recently elected as BMA Scottish council chair. It is well known Dr Morrison is independently minded – so GPs in Scotland have a leader we can put our hope in to fight for all doctors in Scotland, including those in the marginalised North Scotland and other rural and deprived areas.

Last week I joined Scottish consultants; staff, associate specialists and speciality doctors; junior doctors and medical students in letting Dr Morrison know that we need to send out a clear message that the Scottish government needs to do far better than ‘a little better than England’. 

I shall also be speaking up for Scottish doctors at UK Council in London on 19 September, to ask the BMA to robustly challenge the government’s refusal to implement the DDRB recommendation.

After the 3% announcement, we witnessed a seemingly positive Scottish GP response to the ‘DDRB less 1% offer’.

I believe some GP colleagues are showing an insensitivity to their fellow BMA members, many rural and deprived GPs, who received a zero pay rise in the Scottish Contract.

I am assuring Scotland’s doctors that I, for one, will speak up for them at SGPC, Scottish Council, UK Council and GPC UK to condemn the 3% for the dispiriting, DDRB-ignoring, offer that it is.

Dr Iain Kennedy is medical secretary of Highland LMC

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Dear Iain

    Thank you for your article. Since you now speak on behalf of Scottish GPs in your many roles, I would be grateful if you could address how we view the historical disparity in payments per capita to GPs across Scotland (historical pre new contract figures below). A 3% rise might be worth getting excited about but I would have been elated to be earning 14% more per patient like , for example, a urban practice in Inverness.

    Best Regards


    Figure 2 Global Sum and per capita payments by NHS Board 2016-17


    NHS Board Global Sum(million) Global Sum per capita

    LOTHIAN £85.1 £92.1
    FIFE £36.7 £96.8
    GRAMPIAN £58.5 £98.1
    LANARKSHIRE £66.7 £98.6
    FORTH VALLEY £31.4 £99.1
    GREATER GLASGOW & CLYDE £125.8 £99.1
    TAYSIDE £43.8 £103.0
    AYRSHIRE & ARRAN £40.4 £105.1
    BORDERS £13.1 £111.7
    DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY £17.8 £115.4
    ORKNEY £2.4 £115.9
    SHETLAND £2.7 £117.7
    HIGHLAND £42.2 £129.7
    WESTERN ISLES £4.1 £151.9

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