The Scottish Government has recently announced its plans on legislative change for the short and long term, including significant announcements for the care sector.
The first major announcement was that, the Scottish Government, in partnership with the BMA, will negotiate a new GP contract. This is not an attempt by the Scotland to wade into the existing dispute on junior doctor’s contracts that has led to those doctors continuing to go on strike this year. It is in relation to GPs, not junior doctors.
Whilst details are very sparse at the time of writing, this change could effectively mean that different terms would apply to GPs in Scotland than would apply to GPs in England.
Also, Sturgeon confirmed that adult social care workers will be paid the ‘real living wage’. More information on this is given in our article in this issue of the Caring Eye, titled “Scotland: Pay Increase”.
Sturgeon also said “As we see from figures published today, there are already record numbers of staff working in our NHS but we have plans in place to train more nurses, more doctors, including GPs, more paramedics and more community link workers.
We will shortly publish a new National Workforce Plan and, later in the Parliament, we will legislate to enshrine safe staffing levels in law.
We are also investing to transform primary care. We’re helping GPs to work in multi-disciplinary teams with allied healthcare professionals such as pharmacists, community nurses and social workers.”
Other measures announced for Scotland were:
- To increase the number of accredited living wage employers to 1000 by September 2017
- New powers to abolish fees for Employment Tribunals will be used
- Working in partnership with trade unions and investing in trade union modernisation
- Working with the EHRC to tackle pregnancy and maternity discrimination to establish a ‘Returners’ programme to help women return to work after a career break
- Consultation on a draft Referendum Bill so that it’s ready for immediate introduction if it is concluded that independence is the best or only way to protect Scotland’s interests
Senior Employment Law Consultant Nicola Richardson says: There are already a few small differences in employment law between Scotland and the rest of Great Britain but Sturgeon’s plans show a definite move to make the differences vast. The differences may, of course, become even greater if Scotland eventually breaks away from the UK.”