Sussex junior doctors get ready for 48-hour strike

Junior doctors strike Worthing Hospital February 10 2016 SUS-161002-122354001
Junior doctors strike Worthing Hospital February 10 2016 SUS-161002-122354001

Patients with planned operations and procedures over the next two days could be affected by 48-hour strike.

More than 5,000 planned procedures across England have been cancelled ahead of the industrial action by junior doctors.

Medics will be joining picket lines from 8am tomorrow morning (March 9), following a row with the government over a new contract.

Until now, the BMA has held two strikes, lasting 24 hours.

They will be providing emergency care only on Wednesday and Thursday. There are two further 48-hour strikes planned in April.

Last month Jeremy Hunt announced he will impose the contract – branded by junior doctors as ‘not safe and not fair’ – on doctors after months of talks with the doctors’ union the British Medical Association (BMA) stalled.

Patients are being advised to attend appointments unless they have been informed otherwise by their hospital trust.

Hospitals in Sussex which are affected are: East Sussex Healthcare Trust, which runs Eastbourne DGH and Conquest Hospital in Hastings, Western Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs St Richard’s Hospital and Worthing Hospital, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust, which runs East Surrey Hospital and services at Horsham and Crawley Hospital and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, which runs Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath and the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

The new contract proposes an 13.5 per cent rise in basic pay for junior doctors.

However, the number of hours during the week which are classed as ‘unsociable’ and therefore better paid – are being cut. This includes Saturday.

The government also proposes to scrap guaranteed pay increases, linked to time in the job, and replace them with a system where junior doctors progress through different stages in training.

Speaking when the strikes were announced in February, Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said: “In recent weeks I have heard from thousands of junior doctors across the country, and the resounding message is that they cannot and will not accept what the Government is trying to do.

“It now appears that in trying to push through these changes the Government failed to give proper consideration to the impact this contract could have on junior doctors. This is yet another example of the incompetence which the Government has demonstrated throughout its handling of this dispute.

“Imposing this contract will seriously undermine the ability of the NHS to recruit and retain junior doctors in areas of medicine with the most unsocial hours, where there are already staffing shortages. This will have a significant impact on areas such as emergency medicine, maternity care and paediatrics, to name but a few.”

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