Doctors’ union urges new First Minister to end pay dispute ahead of further strike action next week

by BMA Cymru Wales media team

Press release from BMA Cymru Wales.

Location: Wales
Published: Wednesday 20 March 2024

BMA Cymru Wales has written to Vaughan Gething on the day he was officially voted into the role as Wales’ First Minister (Wednesday 20th March) to congratulate him on his appointment but also to urge him to end its pay dispute with the Welsh Government ahead of further strike action next week.

In the letter which outlines BMA Cymru Wales's most urgent priorities for doctors, the union urges the new first minister to come back to the negotiating table and present a credible pay offer to make good on Welsh Labour’s commitment to restore doctors' pay which has been cut by almost a third in real terms since 2008/9.

From Monday 25th March just under 4,000 junior doctors in Wales plan to undertake their third round of industrial action, the 96 full walkout will be the longest strike yet and cause further disruption to planned hospital care which we now know has cost £4 million for the first round of action.

With senior doctors including SAS (specialist, associate specialist, and specialty) and Consultants set to follow in April, the BMA makes clear that offering a fairer deal will help to retain and recruit more doctors to help tackle the record-high waiting lists and help to improve care for patients across Wales.

The letter also sets out other key priorities including providing a fairer portion of funding to general practice to prevent more surgery closures as this year is set to see 100 practice closures since 2013. Improving patient safety by closing the significant staffing gaps in Wales’ hospitals, drastically improving the provision of unscheduled care including providing more ambulances, and tackling longstanding health inequalities in Wales were also outlined in the letter by BMA Cymru Wales’ Deputy chair Dr Phil White.

Dr White says to the new First Minister:

“Industrial action is a decision not taken lightly by our members and seen as a last resort. Wales, the birthplace of the NHS, is home to an underfunded and under-resourced health service. This is reflected in some of the longest waiting times in the United Kingdom, ultimately throwing safe levels of access to care and treatment into jeopardy.

“Your vision for a healthy Wales mirrors the ethos and vision of doctors across the country who strive to deliver this daily. However, as an Association, we are clear that this future cannot be achieved without the appropriate funding.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

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