JUNIOR doctors across Wales began a three day strike over pay yesterday and continue until tomorrow, after almost every junior doctor (98%) who took part in the ballot for industrial action voted to strike.
The 72-hour full walkout from 7.00am on 15 January to 7.00am on 18 January will see 3,000 doctors strike at hospitals and GP surgeries across Wales in pursuit of a fairer deal for their service.
Doctors will be present at picket lines outside all of Wales’ main hospital sites as well as taking their concerns to members of the Senedd with a planned mass demonstration outside the Welsh parliament building today.
The Welsh junior doctors committee made the decision to ballot members in August after being offered another below-inflation pay offer of 5% – the worst in the UK and lower than recommended by the DDRB (the review body for Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration).
Dr Oba Babs-Osibodu and Dr Peter Fahey co-chairs of British Medical Association Cymru Wales’ junior doctors committee said: ‘Our members have been forced to take this difficult decision because junior doctors in Wales have experienced a pay cut of 29.6 per cent in real terms over the last 15 years.
‘A doctor starting their career in Wales will earn as little as £13.65 an hour and for that they could be performing lifesaving procedures and taking on huge levels of responsibility.
‘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 and NHS staff to provide much-needed care.
‘On top of this, junior doctors are experiencing worsening conditions and so doctors are now looking to leave Wales to develop their careers for better pay and a better quality of life elsewhere.
‘This is not a decision that has been made lightly. No doctor wants to take industrial action, but we have been given no choice. Doctors are already voting with their feet and leaving the NHS and we are in a vicious cycle of crippling staffing shortages and worsening patient care.’