I had very much hoped to have been able to give you a significant update about our contract negotiations for some time now – it’s been months since I was able to do so.
It’s never quite been the right time, as it has felt there was something more substantial to say just around the corner following our next negotiations meeting. I’m afraid I still don’t have a full deal to be announcing to you, because we are still yet to complete things in the negotiation room, but I felt it important to give you some news now ahead of that as it has been so long since my last blog.
As you might expect, it’s not possible to get absolutely everything you want out of negotiations – sometimes there has to be some give and take. Nevertheless, I am very much hoping that you will be pleased with what we have managed to agree. I know your priorities will be about pay-scales, out of hours work, and creation of a Specialist Grade – we have worked hard to secure the best deal we could on these. I’d love to be able to give you some more detail on these areas, but until the deal is complete individual items could change. However, I remain confident that the new Specialist Doctor offer will be attractive in comparison with the old SD in Scotland and with the new SD contract on offer in the rest of the UK.
When the deal is complete it will first go to our committee to decide whether they are happy for it to be put out to a ballot of SAS members in Scotland, to see whether you believe it is a good deal for our profession. So, if you want to be able to have your say on this you need to be a member (if you’re not already here’s how you can join). In the meantime, it will be extremely helpful if you already have an up to date, agreed, job plan – this will likely make transition to the new contract much smoother if this is what you decide to do. If you are having difficulties agreeing a job plan you can get advice and support on this as part of BMA membership – you can contact us via phone on 0300 123 1233, email or live webchat. I hope there won’t be, but you might have issues with the process of transition to the new contract – again if so, you can get help and support as part of BMA membership.
Aside from these direct contract negotiations, we’ve been continuing to work with colleagues, including juniors, consultants and GPs, to develop our strategy in the wake of the pay award announcement earlier in the summer. Thanks to those of you who responded to our survey on this subject – these have given us a clear indication of your feelings on the matter. You can read the blog from our immediate past chair of Scottish Council, Lewis Morrison, about the results of the survey and immediate actions. Our new chair of Scottish Council, Iain Kennedy, has also produced a blog which gives some further detail on our priorities, which definitely include Pay but also Pensions, Working conditions, Workforce and Workload.
While I’ve got your attention, if you are interested in being more actively involved in SSASC, especially as we head towards the end of our negotiations, then we still have vacancies for representatives from NHS Ayrshire & Arran, NHS Fife, NHS Grampian, NHS Highland and NHS Lanarkshire. If you work in any of these areas and would be interested in joining the committee until June 2023, then please contact Fiona Dawson for more information.
I hope to be able to bring you further news within the next few weeks of the completion of our negs and include some of the details which will help you decide whether you think it is a good deal for SAS doctors generally and whether you might wish to transfer to the new contract as it is a good deal for you specifically. So, watch this space.
Bernie Scott, chair SSASC