A 48-hour senior doctors strike will take place from Tuesday, April 16.

Consultants and SAS (specialist, associate specialist, and speciality) doctors have voted to strike as part of a dispute with the Welsh Government over their pay, which has been cut by almost a third in real terms since 2008/9.

A significant 70 per cent of consultants had responded to a call to take part in the industrial action.

Consultant and SAS doctors make up over half of the hospital-based medical workforce, with 3,137 Consultants and 1,088 SAS doctors working in hospitals across Wales.

The British Medical Association is now calling on all consultants and SAS doctors in Wales to participate in a 48-hour strike. Doctors can provide emergency care, but all elective or non-emergency work will be postponed during this period.

BMA Cymru Wales is working with NHS employers on staffing levels that are appropriate and will provide guidance to members in advance of any strike days.   

Dr Stephen Kelly, chair of the BMA’s consultants committee in Wales, said: 

“No doctor wants to strike, but the conditions now faced in the workplace caused by the extreme pressures on the service and unsafe staffing levels have left doctors with no choice. “

Dr Julie Jones, Deputy chair of the BMA’s SAS doctors committee in Wales added:

“Doctors are burning out from covering significant gaps in the workforce and patient safety is at risk.

“People are waiting for treatment for longer than ever before, resulting in poorer outcomes and more time in the hospital and we all deserve better.

“This result represents a profession that is not ready to give up on the NHS and its patients in Wales”.

The decision to ballot members was taken after the BMA rejected the Welsh Government’s first and final pay offer for the 2023/24 financial year for those working in secondary care.

For consultants and SAS doctors on closed contracts the offer was 5 per cent; SAS doctors on more recent contracts received as little as 2.5 per cent. The BMA is calling on the Welsh Government to provide sufficient funding to enable discussions around an uplift in senior doctor pay that will retain existing doctors and ensure further recruitment is possible.

The strike will take place from 7am, Tuesday, April 16 to 7am, Thursday, April 18.

Junior doctors in Wales will begin their third round of strike action, a 96-hour full walkout, from 7am Monday, March 25 in pursuit of a fairer deal.