STRIKES which could have incapacitated Scotland's NHS over winter look set to be paused after extensive talks between unions and the Scottish Government led to an improved pay deal.

If accepted, the "best and final offer" will see NHS Agenda for Change workers receive pay hikes ranging from £2,205 to £2,751.

Unite has called off their work to rule tomorrow and will ballot their members on the offer.

However, the Royal College of Nursing warned that the deal did not "meet our members’ expectations." They will consider their next steps over the weekend.

The Scottish Government says that for the lowest paid the new deal represents an uplift of 11.3 per cent and delivers an average uplift of 7.5%, and would leave NHS staff in Scotland better paid than their counterparts in the rest of the UK.

The offer is worth an additional £515m in 2022-23 and includes a "package of progressive measures to promote staff and patient safety, support long-term workforce sustainability and to recognise the breadth of skills and experience of NHS Scotland staff."

This will include a review into reducing the working week to 36 hours.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “We have engaged tirelessly with trade union representatives over recent weeks, leaving no stone unturned to reach an offer which responds to the key concerns of staff across the service.

“This best and final pay offer of over half a billion pounds underlines our commitment to supporting our fantastic NHS staff.

"A newly qualified nurse would see a pay rise of 8.7%, and experienced nurses and would get uplifts of between £2,450 and £2,751.

“We are making this offer at a time of extraordinary financial challenges to the Scottish Government.

“We have made the best offer possible to get money into the pockets of hard-working staff and to avoid industrial action, in what is already going to be an incredibly challenging winter. If the offer is agreed this pay uplift will also be backdated to April.

“Finally, I would urge the UK Government to get back to the negotiating table with the unions. This settlement has been shaped by the unions’ constructive approach and I hope it is backed by their members.”

Unite members of the Scottish Ambulance Service were due to work to rule tomorrow, with staff only working contracted hours.

However, the union said the new offer was “such that it will be put to members in a consultative ballot.”

Pat McIlvogue, Unite regional officer in SAS said: “The suspension of our action short of strike within SAS is done in good faith to facilitate a Consultative Ballot of our members on the Scottish Government improved offer.

"We await the outcome of the ballot result for our next step.”

RCN Scotland Board members have said they will consider the details before considering the next steps.

Colin Poolman, RCN Scotland Director, said: “As always it is our members who will decide what happens next in relation to the pay offer. The first step in that process is for our board to review the detail of the offer. That will happen in the next few days.

"The revised offer still does not meet our members’ expectations, which is disappointing, but the Scottish Government is saying this is their best offer. We will update members once that process has taken place.  

“I appreciate it may be frustrating for our members in Scotland, the majority of whom voted very strongly in favour of taking strike action. It was that mandate that encouraged the Scottish government to re-open negotiations. It is right that RCN Scotland Board members consider the offer in the usual way.”