DOUGLAS Ross has accused English junior doctors of politicising their demands for pay because they dislike the Tory UK Government.

The Scottish Tory leader told The Scotsman that he believed NHS staff south of the Border wanted to make their pay a “political issue”.

The MP and MSP was asked why the UK Government would not offer the same pay deal to junior doctors in England as had been accepted in Scotland.

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Junior doctors and dentists from the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland accepted a record pay offer on Wednesday.

They accepted a 12.4% pay increase, with a commitment to future year’s pay rising in line with inflation, averting the threat of strikes.

The agreement means that Scotland became the only part of the UK to avoid NHS strikes.

In England, junior doctors have been offered a 6% rise with an additional consolidated £1250 increase.

The National:

The UK Government described this as an “average increase of around 8.8%” but it has been rejected, with staff walking out over several days.

Speaking at a visit to businesses in Ayrshire, Ross claimed junior doctors in England had the chance to accept the same deal as Scottish doctors but rejected it.

He told The Scotsman: “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.

"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."

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Ross (below) said that he believes junior doctors accepted that those campaigning for a pay rise had politicised the row.

He added: “They were asked distinctly would you accept the very same offer that has been made to Scottish junior doctors and they said no.

"Because they want to make this an issue against the government.

“That’s not me saying this, that’s an admission from their leadership.

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"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.”

The Scottish deal has never been formally offered to junior doctors in England.

The UK Government has repeatedly said the recent offer - several percent below the deal offered to Scottish doctors and without a commitment to increase pay in line with inflation - is the final offer.

Ross was also asked why Scottish Tory health spokesperson Sandesh Gulhane - who announced he had been selected to fight for a Westminster seat at the next General Election - was allowed to keep his frontbench role.

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Stephen Kerr, a rival to Ross for the party leadership, lost his role as education spokesperson when he was selected to fight for a Westminster seat earlier this year.

Ross said Gulhane (below) was “uniquely placed” to keep his role due to his job as a GP.

“I want to make sure we have that experience leading the fight from the Conservative benches, holding the SNP government to account on healthcare,” he said.

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In a recent YouGov poll, the Scottish Tories were languishing behind on 15% of the vote, seven points down from their result in the 2021 Holyrood election.

The survey also suggested the party would lose almost half of its seats at the next Scottish Parliament election in 2026, dropping from 31 MSPs to 16.

Ross said he was “absolutely” the right man for the leadership position, and added he believed the Tories could increase their number of Scottish MPs at the next UK-wide ballot.