Junior doctors picket outside Eastbourne DGH

Doctors on strike in Sussex. Pictures by Eddie Mitchell
Doctors on strike in Sussex. Pictures by Eddie Mitchell

Dozens of junior doctors are striking over proposed changes to their contracts – forming picket lines outside Eastbourne DGH this morning (January 12).

With doctors around Sussex holding placards with slogans saying ‘trust real doctors not spin doctors’, ‘tired doctors makes mistakes, not fair not safe; and ‘keep calm and save our NHS’ the junior medics doctors protested outside the Conquest and Eastbourne DGH from 8am.

The doctors are providing emergency cover only during the 24-hour walkout. The doctors are striking over proposed changes to their contracts after talks between NHS bosses and the BMA (British Medical Association) broke down.

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 a better paid – are being cut.

Under the changes, unsociable hours would start at 10pm rather than 7pm from Monday to Friday and end at 7am.

Before any work over the weekend was paid at a higher rate, but the current plans would consider Saturday a normal working day until 7pm.

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.

Doctors are arguing that the changes will endanger the lives of patients.

The hospitals are run by East Sussex Healthcare Trust.

A spokesman for the trust said: “Consultants will cover the usual duties of our junior doctors on our hospital wards to ensure the safety of inpatients.

“We have rescheduled some operations and procedures along with outpatient appointments which were due to take place during the industrial action – we apologise for any inconvenience caused to patients due to circumstances outside our control. Thoses patients affected have been contacted in advance. “If you have an appointment or operation scheduled for Tuesday and you have not heard from us, please attend as normal.”

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