Doctors in Scotland could strike again if a row over pensions is not resolved, with tougher industrial action planned this time around.
The British Medical Association says it will ballot its members if the Scottish government fails to deliver changes to the NHS pension scheme being pursued in the rest of the UK.
If it goes ahead, the union will ask hospital doctors in Scotland if they are willing to take strike action, with only emergency cover still being provided.
This would be for a 24-hour period in December, with the possibility of further days of action over a sustained period.
Lewis Morrison, chairman of the BMA’s Scottish consultants committee, said this was stronger than the industrial action taken by medics in June.
He said: “It is disappointing that we are considering further, stronger industrial action on the issue of pensions but we believe that this is the only way we can get the Scottish government to listen to us.”
Dr Morrison said talks had been taking place between the Scottish government and health unions for about six months.
But he accused the government of “failing to deliver”.
Dr Morrison said: “They agree that the increase in NHS staff contributions to their pensions is unjust and describe it as a ‘short term cash-grab’ yet they offer no alternative.
“They say they are negotiating with us in good faith yet they have been unable to provide clarity on the scope of these negotiations or come up with any genuine alternative to the English proposals.
“This is a government that is talking up its opposition but failing to deliver on these words.”
The BMA plans to ballot hospital doctors in November and, if the vote gives the go-ahead for action, the strike will take place on 12 December, with the possibility of further action on both January 8 and 17 next year.