Junior doctors in Wales to stage 96-hour strike next week in row over pay and working conditions

The strike will start at 7am on Monday and last until 7am on Friday. Credit: PA Images

Thousands of junior doctors in Wales are to go on strike next week for the third time this year over pay and working conditions.

The 96-hour strike will see just under 4,000 doctors take industrial action, with appointments at hospitals and GPs set to be postponed across the country.

The strike will start at 7am on Monday and last until 7am on Friday.

Junior doctors want to see their starting pay increase from £13.65 an hour to £19 an hour.

The British Medical Association (BMA) is arguing for better pay, insisting that doctors’ salaries have dropped by almost a third in 15 years.

But the Welsh government insists the 5% on offer is at the limits of what it can afford.

It will be the third time this year junior doctors will be striking. Credit: PA Images

The BMA held strikes in Wales in January and February.

Next month, Welsh consultants and other senior doctors are set to hold a 48-hour walkout, starting on 16 April.

The Welsh government, NHS Wales and the BMA say they are working together to ensure patient safety is protected while junior doctors undertake industrial action.

The head of NHS Wales, Judith Paget, has warned the impact on services will be significant, and appointments and procedures will need to be rescheduled.

Urgent and emergency care will be provided for those in need.

Ms Paget warned people, particularly those with repeat prescriptions, to plan ahead for the strikes, which will occur just before the Easter bank holidays.

She said: “We ask people to use alternatives to emergency departments if their need is not critical during the strike period.

“Alternatives include NHS 111 online or by phone, and pharmacies.

“If your appointment is not going ahead, your health board will contact you to let you know. If you aren’t contacted, please attend your appointment as planned.

“Your local health board will provide the latest information in your area.”

The BMA Cymru wrote to Vaughan Gething, the new First Minister of Wales following his swearing in on Wednesday, encouraging him to end the pay dispute.

BMA Cymru Wales’ acting chairman Dr Phil White said: “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.”

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