Posted: Wed 21st Feb 2024

Junior Doctors in Wales begin 72-hour strike for fair pay

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 21st, 2024

Thousands of junior doctors will take to the picket line today as they begin a 72-hour walkout over pay.

The Welsh junior doctors committee balloted members in August 2023 after being offered a below-inflation pay offer of five per cent.

It is the second full walkout of junior doctors to take place, with a further 96 hour walkout planned from 7am Monday 25 March and 7am Friday 29 March.

The industrial action could see more than 3,000 doctors with up to 11 years of experience out of medical school withdraw their labour from Welsh hospitals and GP surgeries across Wales as part of their fight for fair pay.

Junior doctors are calling for their pay to be restored in line with inflation back to 2008 levels.

According to union BMA Cymru Wales junior doctor pay has been “eroded by almost a third” in the last 15 years.

However Health Minister Eluned Morgan said that whilst the Welsh Government are “always open to further talks” there isn’t the budget available to increase the pay deal.

Dr Oba Babs-Osibodu and Dr Peter Fahey, co-chairs of BMA Cymru Wales’ Junior Doctors Committee said: “We can call off this strike today if the Welsh Government put forward a credible pay offer to form the basis of talks.

“No doctor wants to strike but years of undervaluing our lifesaving service have led us here. Junior doctors in Wales have experienced a pay cut of 29.6 per cent in real terms over the last 15 years.

“Junior doctors are starting their careers earning £13.65 an hour. Is that all they are worth? They are providing lifesaving care after training for years and are shouldering up to £100,000 of debt.

“It is no surprise that we are losing doctors as they search for better pay and conditions elsewhere.

“Losing our doctors at a time when waiting lists are at record highs will mean patients suffering more than they are already.

“We aren’t asking for a pay rise – we are asking for our pay to be restored in line with inflation back to 2008 levels, when we began to receive pay cuts in real terms.

“Pay needs to be fair and competitive with other healthcare systems across the world to retain and recruit doctors to provide the care that patients in Wales deserve.”

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has said that work is taking place to keep patients safe during the strikes.

However some routine appointments will be cancelled over the 72 hours.

A health board spokesperson said: “Please be aware that industrial action by junior doctors is due to take place in Wales between 7am on Wednesday, 21 February and continue until 7am on Saturday, 24 February 2024.

“This will impact our hospital services and we are currently working hard with our staff to keep patients safe during planned strikes while delivering the best care possible.

“This does, however, mean that some planned care appointments will need to be rearranged.

“Anyone who has an appointment that needs to be rearranged will be contacted directly to discuss this.

“If you have a planned appointment then please still attend unless you are contacted directly to say otherwise.

“During this time we would urge anyone who requires care or support to visit the NHS 111 Wales website in the first instance to be advised about the most appropriate service, which might be self-care at home, a visit to the pharmacy, a GP appointment, a Minor Injuries Unit, or, in life threatening circumstances, the hospital Emergency Department.”

 

 

 

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