Hundreds of Worthing Hospital patients to be affected by strike

WORTHING HOSPITAL JNR DOCTORS STRIKE SUS-161201-094414001
WORTHING HOSPITAL JNR DOCTORS STRIKE SUS-161201-094414001

More than 550 patients will be affected as junior doctors prepare to strike at Worthing and St Richard’s hospitals tomorrow.

Last-minute talks are taking place between the British Medical Association and the government in a bid to stop Wednesday’s strike over a contract dispute.

However, if no agreement is reached, junior doctors in England will take part in their second 24-hour walk-out from 8am on February 10 until 8am on February 11.

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said around 450 outpatients appointments, 60 day-case operations and 60 inpatient operations are being postponed.

Dr George Findlay, medical director, said: “The safety of our patients is our number one priority and while we are doing all we can to maintain services it has been necessary to postpone some outpatient appointments, as well as day-case and inpatient operations.

“We are contacting all those patients affected directly.

“If you have an appointment on February 10, please do assume it is going ahead unless you have heard from us.

“I would like to thank all those who are affected for their patience and understanding and also remind others about the appropriate use of our emergency services.

“It is likely our Accident & Emergency departments will be under significant pressure while the industrial action takes place and so it is very important people only attend A&E for the treatment of serious or life-threatening conditions.”

Negotiations between the BMA and NHS Employers for new consultants and junior doctors’ contracts began in October 2013.

Doctors are arguing the changes – proposed to improve seven-day NHS services — will result in a pay cut.

The new contract proposes an 11 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.

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.

It is believed the BMA put offered a proposal during talks that would have seen doctors’ basic pay rise by half the 11 per cent offered by the government in return for Saturday not be treated as a normal working day. However the offer was rejected.

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