HEALTHCARE services in Wales have seen three days of disruption in the last fortnight, and further strikes could be on the way in the New Year.

Workers in the Welsh health service are among those to have walked out as part of an ongoing dispute over pay, conditions and patient safety.  

Health minister Eluned Morgan said although the Welsh Government “believe all public sector workers should be fairly rewarded for the important work they do”, without extra money from the UK Government it was unable to offer more.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing went on strike for the first time in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on December 15 and 20.

This affected all health boards in Wales except the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board – where turnout on the ballot was below the 50 per cent threshold – while Welsh Ambulance Service Trust and Velindre NHS Trust staff also walked out.

Ambulance workers who are members of the GMB took to the picket lines on Wednesday, December 21 with concerns over pay and conditions.

A second day of industrial action had been planned by the GMB on Wednesday, December 28, although the union has now cancelled this as a “thank you to the public” after the “incredible support” they gave striking ambulance workers this week.

South Wales Argus: Wales Ambulance Service workers take strike action this week.Wales Ambulance Service workers take strike action this week. (Image: Newsquest)

On Thursday, a third union representing ambulance staff – Unite – announced 88 per cent its members – including paramedics, EMTs and emergency call handling staff – had voted in favour of strike action, with dates to be confirmed for in the New Year.

The RCN has also announced further strike dates in the New Year – Wednesday, January 18 and Thursday, January 19 – however this is for England only.

But RCN Wales has said it will consider striking in the New Year, with members “frustrated and angry about the lack of engagement from the Welsh Government to open discussions on a fair pay award for nursing staff”.

Helen Whyley, director of RCN Wales, said: “I have written to the Welsh Government this week requesting a way forward to avoid more strike action in Wales.

“If the Welsh Government does not make a genuine commitment to resolving this dispute new strike days will be announced in the New Year.”