TODAY (Monday, January 15) junior doctors across Wales start their first day of strike action over their pay. 

The 72-hour full walkout from 7am today to 7am on January 18 could see over 3,000 doctors with up to 11 years of experience out of medical school withdraw their labour from Welsh hospitals and GP surgeries across Wales in pursuit of a fairer deal for their service. 

Doctors will be present at picket lines outside all of Wales’ main hospital sites, including Wrexham Maelor, as well as taking their concerns to members of the Senedd with a planned mass demonstration outside the Welsh parliament building on Tuesday (January 16).

The Welsh junior doctors committee made the decision to ballot members in August after being offered another below-inflation pay offer of 5 per cent - the worst in the UK and lower than recommended by the DDRB (the review body for Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration). 

The offer was put to the doctors just four months after the Welsh Government initially declared it would commit to the principle of pay restoration back in April 2023. 

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has warned of potential disruption to its services amid the strike action. 


Dr Oba Babs-Osibodu and Dr Peter Fahey, co-chairs of BMA Cymru Wales’ junior doctors committee, said:  “No doctor wants to strike; we had hoped the Welsh Government had properly understood the strength of feeling amongst junior doctors in Wales. Sadly, their inaction over this matter has led us here today, demoralised, frustrated and angry. 

“After years of undervaluing our lifesaving service we feel we’ve been left with no choice but to stand up for the profession and say enough is enough, we cannot and will not accept the unacceptable anymore. 

“Our members have been forced to take this difficult decision because Junior doctors in Wales have experienced a pay cut of 29.6 per cent in real terms over the last 15 years. A doctor starting their career in Wales will earn as little as £13.65 an hour and for that they could be performing lifesaving procedures and taking on huge levels of responsibility."

They added: “We aren’t asking for a pay rise - we are asking for our pay to be restored in line with inflation back to 2008 levels, when we began to receive pay cuts in real terms. Pay needs to be fair and competitive with other healthcare systems across the world to retain and recruit doctors and NHS staff to provide much-needed care. 

“On top of this junior doctors are experiencing worsening conditions and so doctors are now looking to leave Wales to develop their careers for better pay and a better quality of life elsewhere. 

“This is not a decision that has been made lightly. No doctor wants to take industrial action, but we have been given no choice. Doctors are already voting with their feet and leaving the NHS and we are in a vicious cycle of crippling staffing shortages and worsening patient care."