Strike action disruption due to Labour’s worst pay offer in the UK
Commenting on the news that 80% of operations have been cancelled in just one health board area due to junior doctor strike action, Russell George MS, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister said:
“The people of Wales will share my frustration at the severe disruption caused by strike action in Labour-run Wales when we already have the longest waits for treatment in the UK.
“In Conservative-run England, junior doctors have been offered a pay rise over double that of Labour-run Wales’ – Labour has consistently put the worst offer in the UK on the table.
“The Welsh Conservatives would spend the full Barnett uplift received for health on health. Labour need to get round the table and at least match the independent pay review body recommendation, which Labour ministers have so far failed to.”
Junior doctors will take strike action for three days, starting on Monday 15 January, with the impact on services expected to be significant.
Eluned Morgan Welsh Labour Health Minister has reassured people that urgent and life-threatening care will continue to be provided during this period.
She has also urged everyone to help reduce the burden on the NHS by using other healthcare services, instead of going to the hospital, unless they need urgent care.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said:
We are disappointed junior doctors have voted for industrial action, but we understand the strength of feeling among BMA members.
We would like to address their pay restoration ambitions, but the pay award offer we have made is at the limits of the finances available to us and reflects the position reached with the other unions. We continue to press the UK Government to pass on the funding necessary to provide full and fair pay rises for public sector workers.
The UK Government has failed, over the last 13 years, to properly fund public services. The Welsh Government’s budget in 2024 to 2025 would be £3bn higher if it had grown in line with the economy since 2010. Because of the recent inflation shock, our settlement next year is worth up to £1.3bn less in real terms than expected when it was first set in 2021.
We remain committed to working in social partnership with the British Medical Association and NHS Employers, and we are grateful for the collaborative approach to ensuring patient safety is protected during the industrial action.
We expect non-emergency and elective activities to be stood down during this period, and for services to resemble those generally provided on a bank holiday.
If you have a critical need to attend an emergency department you should still do so.
We urge everyone to consider the best option for them, including using 111 online or phone service, or their local pharmacy.