Doctors in Wales consider going on strike for the first time

Doctors in Wales are considering going on strike for the first time, the British Medical Association Cymru has said.

Almost two-thirds of hospital doctors surveyed by the union this month said they would be prepared to take industrial action, including strikes, over their current pay and conditions.

The announcement comes after a week of walkouts by nurses and paramedics across the country demanding better pay and conditions.

BMA Welsh Council chair Iona Collins called the outcome of the inquiry “upsetting for all” and said it was “heartbreaking for doctors to consider walking away from work”.

She added: “Without action now, patients will continue to suffer as a direct result of an underfunded NHS with insufficient direct clinical care.”

The BMA announced in October that a ballot for industrial action by young doctors in England, who received a 2% pay rise this year, will open on January 9.

The union said that over the past 15 years the take-home pay of young doctors has been reduced in real terms by more than a quarter.

Just under 1,000 doctors in Wales took the questionnaire to get opinions on the Welsh Government’s latest salary award of 4.5 per cent, with 78 per cent of those responding wanting a pay rise to match or exceed the ‘inflation.

A previous survey conducted by the BMA in August found that 52% of members who responded were more likely to leave the Welsh NHS due to pay rises below inflation.

Madelaine Watkins joins members of the Royal College of Nursing on the picket line outside Cardiff University Hospital earlier this week (PA)

Dr Collins said the outcome of the latest survey “is heartbreaking for everyone, including the doctors who were involved”.

She added: “Doctors are medical professionals who invest most of their lives in caring for others. They care passionately about their work and take their vocations seriously.

“It is heartbreaking for doctors to consider walking away from work when they know they are desperately needed in the workplace.

“Doctors have been quietly leaving the NHS for years, cutting their contractual hours or leaving altogether. The financial incentive to stay in the NHS has eroded over the past decade.

“Furthermore, a change in the taxation of NHS pensions has seen senior doctors who have worked overtime in good faith punished for supporting the NHS by paying more than overtime reimbursement as pension tax. pensions.

“No other health system devalues ​​its doctors in such a way, so it’s no wonder so many doctors leave the NHS to work elsewhere.

“Patient waiting lists are at record highs and the dire NHS workforce situation is affecting healthcare colleagues at all levels.

“Without action now, patients will continue to suffer as a direct result of an underfunded NHS with insufficient direct clinical care.

“Building on this, we hope the Welsh Government will finally wake up to the medical staff crisis and take serious action, starting with better pay rewards as part of an urgent plan to deal with years of wage erosion.”

Dr Collins said she had called for an urgent meeting with Wales Health Minister Eluned Morgan to discuss the investigation and the “need for immediate action”.

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