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Welsh junior doctors begin fresh strike action over pay

21 Feb 2024 3 minute read
Welsh junior doctors on the picket line outside the University Hospital Wales in Cardiff. Photo George Thompson/PA Wire

Junior doctors from across Wales have begun a three-day strike over pay.

The walkout, which began at 7am on Wednesday, will last until 7am on Saturday, and is expected to see more than 3,000 doctors taking part in the industrial action.

The move will see appointments at hospitals and GP practices across the country postponed.

This is the second round of strike action by the British Medical Association (BMA) in Wales since January, who argue they have lost a third of their pay in the last 15 years.

Future strikes

Members of the BMA have warned that future strikes are likely if their demands are not met.

But the Welsh government insists that the 5% increase it has offered is all it can afford.

Dr Oba Babs-Osibodu, co-chair of BMA Cymru Wales’ Junior Doctors Committee was on a picket line outside University Hospital Wales in Cardiff.

He said: “We’re here today because we’ve lost 29.6% of our pay over the last 15 years.

“We’ve lost almost a third of our pay and our work hasn’t become a third easier, if anything it’s getting harder.

“With this deliberate pay erosion from the Welsh Government, we’re now in a situation where new doctors here in Wales are earning just £13.65 per hour.”

He said the union had made its feelings known to the Welsh Government, calling the present situation “untenable”.

He added: “We’re always talking to the Welsh Government and we’ve been talking to them for a long, long time.

“Unfortunately, all we’re getting is excuses and empty promises.”

Credible offer

Dr Peter Fahey, the fellow co-chairman of the committee, said: “We’re happy to be presented with a credible offer from the Welsh Government to end these strikes but they’ve not come with us with anything further than the 5% pay rise that they offered which is a further real-terms pay cut this year so these strikes will continue until we get a credible offer from the Welsh Government.”

Dr Fahey added that the last set of strikes in January shows that patient safety can be maintained.

He said that anyone needing urgent care would be looked after by consultants and other senior colleagues.

The BMA representatives said strikes were likely to continue until the Welsh government’s offer improved.

During the last strike, around 41% of outpatient appointments and 61% of operations were postponed across Wales.

Welsh government health minister Eluned Morgan said: “We are disappointed that junior doctors have decided to take further industrial action in Wales, but we understand their strength of feeling about our 5% pay offer,” she said.

“Our offer is at the limits of the finances available to us and reflects the position reached with the other health unions.

“But we will continue to press the UK Government to pass on the funding necessary for full and fair pay rises for public sector workers.”


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A.Redman
A.Redman
1 month ago

Which Doctors are actually being paid only £13.65/hour in Wales?

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  A.Redman

First year trainees, i.e about 10% of the group described as ‘junior doctors’. Pay progression is quite quick, with a second year trainee already earning at least £35k, i.e. more than the median salary for the Welsh population. But they clearly think the Welsh population should pay more tax so they can earn even more.
It is a symptom of a National Health ‘Service’ which prioritises serving its own over serving the population and has no shame putting lives at risk in exchange for a pay-rise.

FrankC
FrankC
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

What an utterly ridiculous comment. Maybe they should work for nothing!

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  FrankC

Nobody expects them to work for nothing. But their starting salary as a trainee is already generous – higher than a trainee solicitor or a trainee in any other profession that I can think of. Junior doctor pay scales are shown here, they can hardly argue they are on the bread-line: https://www.bma.org.uk/pay-and-contracts/pay/junior-doctors-pay-scales/pay-scales-for-junior-doctors-in-wales
Junior doctors should recognise that the money they are demanding has to come from somewhere – i.e. either from the taxpayer (most of whom earn less than they do) or the NHS budget (meaning the service will deteriorate even further).

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark

My wife has recently retired after 40 years working in the NHS, while working as a nurse she did a degree, then passed her masters, and was rewarded with pay rises, which we thought were deserved. She also, unlike solicitors and other professionals, was head butted , punched, kicked, spat on and threatened, receiving concussion and bruises, all while trying to treat patients in A&E. These people deserve all they earn and more, and we should find the money, maybe from the £16.7 billion surplus the UK Gov had in January.

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