Preparing for industrial action and why it’s now or never to change the future of the profession for doctors in Wales

BMA Cymru Wales consultants committee chair Stephen Kelly and acting chair of the BMA SAS doctors committee in Wales Julie Jones share details on what strike action will look like if the ballots for staff, associate specialist and specialty doctors and consultants are successful in Wales

Location: Wales
Published: Wednesday 14 February 2024
Junior doctors in Wales on the picket line with banners

With just four weeks left in the concurrent ballots for industrial action, we wanted to bring you an update on what action has been chosen by the committees and why these decisions have been taken. 

If you have still not received your ballot paper in the post, please order a replacement. It is crucial that as many members vote as possible, we need at least a 50% turnout with a majority of those who do to vote yes to make a positive change for the profession. 

None of us wanted it to come to this, but with more and more senior doctors leaving Wales or retiring early and job vacancies for doctors at over 30% in some health boards, this really is our last chance to make a real difference for the profession. If we go on accepting pay erosion, we can continue to expect worsening conditions with unsafe staffing levels at its core. 

By voting yes, you will be voting to turn the tide on this issue, patients and staff in Wales deserve to receive the best care possible. This is our chance to stand up for the profession to improve the lives of staff working in the NHS and the patients deserving of our care. 

We know some of you may still have questions about our campaign, the ballot and what industrial action would look like in Wales and so we wanted to take the opportunity to provide you with some more detail about the plans. 


Type of strike action

If the ballot is successful, we will be calling for both consultants and SAS doctors to provide ‘Christmas Day’ levels of cover on strike days.

This level of cover would ensure that emergency care would continue to be provided, but elective or non-emergency work would be postponed. 

We are working with NHS employers to detail how this will work practically and will provide guidance in advance of any strike days.  



We have not yet announced when strike action will take place but if the ballots are successful, we will ensure we work together with NHS employers to ensure there is enough time to prepare for adequate staffing for patients requiring urgent, time-sensitive care. 

We want members to also be reassured that we are not currently intending to call strike action to coincide with the recently announced junior doctor strike action in the week commencing 25 March.  


Talk to us

This is a huge moment for consultants and SAS doctors in Wales and we want to make sure members are thoroughly informed and have answers to those remaining queries before casting their vote. We have therefore arranged a series of events at your workplace. 

We will also be hosting a webinar at 7.30pm on Tuesday 20 February – register your interest to receive joining details. Attending one of these events is the best way to share your feedback and ask you questions. 

This is our chance to unite and make a stand. We’re not worth almost a third less than we were 15 years ago. We must fight for what is fair – not just for us, but for the next generation of doctors, our patients, and the future of the NHS in Wales.