THOUSANDS of doctors have begun their second round of strike action over pay.

Junior doctors in Wales started a 72-hour walkout at 7am, today, Wednesday, which will continue until Saturday, February 24.

The British Medical Association estimates the strikes could see more than 3,000 doctors withdraw their labour from hospitals and GP services in Wales.

It comes after the union rejected the Welsh Government’s offer of a five per cent pay rise, which it called the “worst in the UK”.

BMA Cymru Wales says their real terms pay has fallen by almost 30 per cent since 2008/09.

'Is that all they are worth?'

Dr Oba Babs-Osibodu and Dr Peter Fahey, co-chairs of the junior doctors committee, have issued a statement on the first day of strikes.

They said: “We can call off this strike today if the Welsh Government put forward a credible pay offer to form the basis of talks.

“No doctor wants to strike but years of undervaluing our lifesaving service have led us here. Junior doctors in Wales have experienced a pay cut of 29.6 per cent in real terms over the last 15 years.

South Wales Argus: Chairs of the junior doctors committee say: 'No doctor wants to strike'Chairs of the junior doctors committee say: 'No doctor wants to strike' (Image: David Barron)

“Junior doctors are starting their careers earning £13.65 an hour. Is that all they are worth? They are providing lifesaving care after training for years and are shouldering up to £100,000 of debt.

“It is no surprise that we are losing doctors as they search for better pay and conditions elsewhere. Losing our doctors at a time when waiting lists are at record highs will mean patients suffering more than they are already.

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“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 to provide the care that patients in Wales deserve.”

Pickets will take place between 7.45am and 11am at The Grange University Hospital, with a demonstration on the roundabout grass verge.

The Welsh Government has previously said it “wishes to address” the doctors’ pay restoration ambitions but cannot improve their offer without additional funding from the UK Government.