AN AYRSHIRE MP has slammed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak over his attitude towards striking NHS staff.

Dr Philippa Whitford, who represents Central Ayrshire, raised the issue during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

The SNP member, whose constituency covers Irvine, Troon and Prestwick, highlighted the fact that junior doctors had taken part in their longest ever strike in England - and consultants were soon to go on strike for the first time in 50 years.

Dr Whitford - a consultant surgeon who worked at Crosshouse Hospital for 18 years - said strikes had been avoided in Scotland because the Scottish Government had worked alongside the unions to prevent pay erosion.

She asked the PM: "Does he really think refusing to even talk to health unions will stop doctors leaving the NHS?"

The Prime Minister told her that the government had spoken to unions representing health staff.

He added: "We also respected the independent pay review body process, which is the right way to resolve these issues."

Dr Whitford announced earlier this week that she would not be seeking re-election next year.

In a statement to the press, she said: "It has been an honour to serve as the MP for the people of Central Ayrshire for the last eight years and to have been their choice in three elections.

"However, I will not be seeking re-election at the next Westminster election.

"At the time of that election, I will have been an MP for nine years and, including my time as an NHS surgeon, spent 42 years in working in public service."

The SNP politician has represented the constituency of Central Ayrshire since 2015, when she unseated Labour's Brian Donohoe.

She added: "Working as an MP at Westminster has changed over the last eight years, especially after Boris Johnson became Prime Minister and aggression and contempt towards SNP MPs, and indeed Scotland, became the norm.

"While he has gone, his toxic legacy remains and only time will tell if this changes after the next election."