British Health Secretary Steve Barclay has warned that patient safety is at risk as a four-day strike by specialist doctors begins today, which is expected to cause many problems.

Tens of thousands of specialist doctors plan to strike to demand pay rises in line with inflation, meaning many operations and other medical appointments at public NHS hospitals will be cancelled.

The British Medical Association (BMA), the union representing doctors, is demanding a 35% increase, explaining that its members have suffered a real pay cut of 26% over the past 15 years. In March, the specialized doctors had carried out three-day mobilizations.

“Not only will the strikes put patient safety at risk, but they have been planned to cause as much disruption as possible over the Easter holidays,” Barclay said in a statement.

Specialist doctors – around 75,000 – make up a large part of Britain’s medical workforce. They emphasize that the strikes would have been prevented if the Minister of Health had made a reasonable proposal.

For his part Barclay states that the demands of the specialists are unreasonable and mean an increase of more than 20,000 pounds (around 22,000 euros) for some.

This strike is the latest mobilization involving NHS workers, following strikes by nurses, ambulance workers and others demanding pay rises to match inflation, which in Britain has exceeded 10%.