Posted: Fri 28th Jun 2024

Doctors in Wales accept Welsh Government pay offer to end strikes

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Junior and specialist doctors in Wales have accepted Welsh Government pay offers today, ending ongoing disputes.

The British Medical Association’s (BMA) consultants, junior doctors, and SAS (specialist, associate specialist, and specialty doctors) committees voted in favour of the pay deals, concluding three separate pay disputes affecting secondary care doctors.

In a decisive vote, 96% of junior doctors voted to accept a 7.4% additional uplift, resulting in a total 12.4% pay increase for the 2023/24 financial year.

This adjustment will be backdated to April 2023.

Additionally, 86% of consultants approved a revised pay scale that enhances early career pay and increases career average pay, aimed at retaining senior doctors.

Meanwhile, 82% of SAS members agreed to a pay increase ranging from 6.1% to 9.2%, along with an additional uplift for associate specialists on closed contracts.

The acceptance of these offers officially resolves the ongoing pay disputes, which have been a focal point since April this year.

The negotiations, prompted by sustained pressure from BMA Cymru Wales and involving three strikes by junior doctors and planned industrial action by senior doctors, have now borne fruit.

Dr. Oba Babs-Osibodu and Dr. Peter Fahey, co-chairs of the BMA’s Welsh Junior Doctors Committee, stated, “This pay deal and the emphatic vote by members to accept it shows how far we have come on our journey to fight for the future of our profession. For too long, junior doctors have been undervalued. We chose to stand up and be counted, refusing to accept further cuts to our pay. While we are pleased with the progress we have made, the fight for full pay restoration is far from over.”

Dr. Stephen Kelly, chair of BMA Cymru Wales’ Consultants Committee, expressed satisfaction with the outcome, saying, “We’re pleased to have been able to reach a fairer settlement for senior doctors in Wales. We hope this significant offer will help retain doctors currently working in Wales and attract more, ultimately benefiting patients.”

Dr. Ali Nazir, chair of BMA Cymru Wales’ SAS Doctors Committee, highlighted the overdue recognition for SAS doctors, noting, “For far too long, the invaluable contribution of SAS doctors in Wales has been disregarded. Reaching a fairer deal for this experienced part of the workforce is very much welcomed. We will continue to fight for the rights of SAS doctors.”

In response, the Welsh Government confirmed the pay offers and expressed commitment to swiftly implementing the pay awards. “We are pleased to confirm that the pay offers we made to consultants, SAS doctors, and junior doctors to end the strikes and settle the pay dispute in 2023-24 have been accepted,” stated Vaughan Gething MS and Eluned Morgan MS, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care.

They also thanked the BMA’s negotiating teams and NHS Wales Employers for their constructive talks.

Sam Rowlands MS, the Shadow Minister for Health, criticised the Welsh Government’s handling of the situation, stating, “The Welsh Labour Government has acted shamefully throughout this episode. By only releasing the funds for a pay deal when it was politically advantageous, Labour caused the strikes that led to missed operations, extra pressure on our NHS, and undue stress on Wales’ consultants, SAS doctors, and junior doctors.”

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