STRIKING junior doctors at Wrexham Maelor Hospital say the pay offer was a "kick in the teeth". 

Junior doctors across Wales have begun a three-day walkout over pay as they warned of the pressures health services are under.

The strike, which began at 7am on Monday and will last until 7am on Thursday, could see more than 3,000 doctors taking industrial action.

The Welsh junior doctors committee made the decision to ballot members in August after being offered a 5 per cent deal by the Welsh Government.

On Monday morning, The Leader visited the picket line outside Wrexham Maelor Hospital to speak to the junior doctors striking there. 

Michael Gardiner, a trainee anaesthetist, said: "Since 2008, our pay has been eroded by 29 per cent in real terms, and that's having a real effect on our lives and working conditions. The junior doctors who are being paid the least are only being paid £13.65 an hour, and they're often the first doctor who would see you or your relative if you were unwell.

"To keep highly skilled doctors in the NHS, we'd like our pay to be restored to those 2008 levels, so that's why we're taking this action. We're getting lots of support here in Wrexham this morning."

The Leader:

Numerous drivers of passing vehicles sounded their horns to show their support, and some people stopped to pass on messages of encouragement and solidarity. 

Junior doctor Lottie, who has been working at Wrexham Maelor Hospital for the last two years, said: "There used to be the odd good day working this job, the odd manageable day. But over the last few months, particularly as winter arrived, there's not been a single good day. 

"As doctors in training, we have mandatory exams and courses, the cost of sitting which all comes out of our pocket. On top of that we have our indemnity fees given that we are working in a high pressure place, insurance, university fees. So with the cost of living crisis, we have added financial pressures related to the job itself. Our take home pay is abysmal."


​Amy Ellison added: "Just to give an idea of the sums the exams cost, the exam I'm about to sit is £1,180. There was an incentive scheme to cover the exam costs to help bring junior doctors to North Wales - that's not in place anymore. 

"For trainees or those at a consultant level, the assumption is you're earning enough to pay for the exams. But what we're finding is a lot of people are having to make choices not to sit as many life-support courses. This means our doctors don't have as much training."

Natalie Wright said: "The combined pressure of the working environment and the cost of living crisis has left us all struggling. We feel devalued, and that pay offer was a real kick in the teeth. 

"None of us want to be out here today, but there comes a point when enough is enough and you have to make a stand."

The Leader: Natalie Wright and Phoebe Naoka (and their dogs) on the picket line.Natalie Wright and Phoebe Naoka (and their dogs) on the picket line. (Image: Newsquest)

The Welsh health minister, Eluned Morgan, said pay restoration for junior doctors in Wales is impossible without a significant increase in funding from the UK Government.

“We are disappointed junior doctors have voted for industrial action, but we understand the strength of feeling among BMA members,” Ms Morgan said.

“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."