Scotland’s Health Secretary has offered to mediate talks between the UK Government and junior doctors. 

In a letter to UK Health Secretary Steve Barclay, Michael Matheson said patients in England were “suffering” as strikes continued. 

The offer comes after junior medics in Scotland voted in favour of an offer from the Scottish Government to boost pay by 12.4%, bringing an end to the risk of strikes. 

Relations between the two administrations are often less than cordial – so should this olive branch be accepted? 

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Relations between the UK Government and junior doctor unions have become tense as five walkouts have been staged in recent months. 

Read more about the latest developments: 

Scottish Governments offers to host pay talks for English doctors

'Utterly appalling': Scottish A&E performance hits three-month low

NHS Scotland: Strikes off as junior doctors accept pay deal

In his letter, Mr Matheson said: “As you may be aware in NHS Scotland, we have not had any strikes. 

“The reason for this is that we have engaged seriously and respectfully with trade union and staff representatives on their concerns. Our discussions were frank and honest. 

“As is the nature of any negotiation there is, by necessity, compromise needed on all sides. It has been deeply challenging, but the cost of not doing so is plain for all to see in their impact on services to NHS England patients.” 

He added: “To help break the impasse, I would like to offer the services of myself and my officials to mediate new talks between the UK Government and the BMA junior doctors’ representatives. 

“The Scottish Government will be happy to host such talks either in Edinburgh or London.” 

The Herald:

The offer could be seen as a response to a recent approach from the UK Health Secretary to the ministers in Scotland and Wales, saying patients could come to England for treatment to bring down waiting lists in the devolved administrations, which drew criticism from Edinburgh and Cardiff as well as from opposition politicians. 

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care did not engage with the offer for talks.