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Minister urged to return to negotiating table to end junior doctors dispute

12 Feb 2024 3 minute read
Junior doctors on the picket line at Cardiff’s University Hospital. Photo Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The Health Minister is being urged to return to the negotiating table with junior doctors before further  strike action takes place later this month.

Last week it was announced by BMA Cymru Wales’ junior doctors committee that “In the absence of a credible pay offer to form the basis of talks to end the dispute” junior doctors across Wales will take part in two further walkouts in February and March.

The first, a 72 hour full walkout, is planned from Wednesday 21 February and the second a 96 hour full walkout from Monday 25 March.

The new rounds of strike action follows a 72-hour full walkout by junior doctors in January.

South Wales East MS Delyth Jewell has called on Eluned Morgan to return to the negotiating table with doctors’ leaders to prevent further strikes.

Pay restoration

Plaid Cymru’s Deputy Senedd Leader Delyth Jewell MS said: “The pay of junior doctors in Wales has been cut by almost a third in real terms since 2008-09. There is real danger that successive pay cuts will drive even more doctors away from the profession at a time when patients need them most. Junior doctors are not asking for a pay rise; they’re asking for pay restoration.

“I’m aware of how difficult the financial settlement that we have is, however, doctors’ salaries must be fair and competitive with those in other healthcare systems around the world, otherwise we will lose them.

“ I urge the Welsh Government to return to the negotiating table with the junior doctors in an effort to avoid more strikes, because they don’t want to be on strike either; they want to be in the hospitals helping patients.”

Strength of feeling

Responding to the threat of further strikes, Eluned Morgan said: “…we certainly recognise the strength of feeling amongst junior doctors, and, whilst we certainly are very keen to address their pay restoration ambitions, I’m afraid that the 5 per cent that has been put into their pay packages is at the limits of the finances available to us this year, and, obviously, it’s the same thing as has been offered to other health unions this year.”

Co-chairs of the BMA’s Welsh junior doctors committee, Dr Oba Babs-Osibodu and Dr Peter Fahey, said: “What we are asking for is not unreasonable, nor is it unaffordable; however, Wales cannot afford to lose any more doctors, and we can no longer accept the unacceptable.

“We would always be willing to return to the table if a credible offer was put forward. “After years of undervaluing our lifesaving service, our resolve has never been stronger. With record-high membership, we’re now a bigger, stronger union, and together we remain steadfast in our aim to restore our pay which has been cut by almost a third.”


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Llyn
Llyn
13 days ago

Like motherhood and apple pie everyone wants to see the junior doctors get paid more but without Plaid suggesting where, these at least tens of millions of pounds are going to come from, this is nothing more than virtue signalling.

Why vote
Why vote
13 days ago

Pay them out of the savings made from the 20 mph, according to WG there should be 20 to 30 million pounds floating around the NHS by now.

Llyn
Llyn
13 days ago
Reply to  Why vote

So you believe that there are £20-30 million pounds in savings from 20mph that can be given to junior doctors? The Welsh Government have never what you claim. Their website states “one study estimates these savings could be up to £92m every year.”

Dewi Evans
Dewi Evans
13 days ago

If health boards were competent they would not be paying a fortune (starting at £800 per day) for locums. Also it’s not just the doctors on the picket lines Welsh Labour should be concerned about. They should think about the ones NOT on the picket line, having left for Australia or New Zealand or other places abroad. Even more concerning are those who have given up medicine completely. In 2010 over 85% of junior doctors would join a specialist training scheme (GP or hospital based) after their 2 yr foundation course. That figure has now fallen to less than 50%.… Read more »

lufcwls
lufcwls
12 days ago
Reply to  Dewi Evans

Exactly this, the government will end up paying more to locums than the cost of giving staff a pay rise. It’s ridiculous.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
12 days ago

The Blocker Baroness Bumble…We need a new government…

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