The Scottish Government has announced it will scrap the public sector pay cap, opening the way for a real-terms pay rise for GPs.
Outlining plans for the next year, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that future pay rises would be based on the cost of living.
The UK-wide 1% pay cap has been in place since 2013, following a two-year freeze on rises, but reports have claimed UK Prime Minister Theresa May will also scrap it.
Past pay increases for GPs, including for 2017, have been set in line with the 1% cap.
Annonuncing the decision to lift the cap, Ms Sturgeon said that ‘nurses, teachers, police officers and firefighters deserve a fairer deal for the future.
‘We will, therefore, aim to secure pay rises from next year that are affordable, but which also reflect the real-life circumstances our public servants face and the contribution our public services make to the overall prosperity of our country.’
Dr Peter Bennie, chair of BMA Scotland said: ‘The announcement today that the 1% pay cap is to end will be welcome news to frontline staff.
‘Investing in workforce and providing fair terms and conditions must be a priority for any government so that the NHS can attract and retain the staff needed to deliver safe, high-quality patient care.’
But he added that the BMA had been warning for some time that without significant additional resources the current model of care is no longer sustainable.
‘In order to maintain services to patients, existing NHS staff are working harder to fill gaps and maintain quality of care but this is not a long term solution to the pressures being faced in our health service,’ he said.
‘Additional funding will be essential to ease these pressures.’
The news comes as the BMA is negotiating a new GP contract for Scotland due to come in from next year.