Hundreds of midwives and healthcare professionals stood on the picket line outside the DGH on Monday (October 13) in a dispute over pay.
Members of UNISON, GMB, the Royal College of Midwives and the Society of Radiographers took part in the UK-wide four-hour strike but the East Sussex NHS Trust said it did not anticipate ‘major disruption’.
UNISON announced its members working in the NHS would strike on Monday followed by four days of action short of striking when they will stop working through their breaks. The trust, which runs the DGH, advised patients to attend appointments as normal between 7am and 11am.
Chief operating officer at the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, Richard Sunley, said, “We have been working with staff side representatives to try to anticipate the number of staff who will be taking industrial action to ensure we have staff to provide essential services. Our overriding objective is to ensure we continue to provide high quality and safe services to patients. We do not anticipate any major disruption, however, we do have contingency plans in place to ensure the quality of patient care is not compromised should there be any significant disruption to supporting services.”
A total of 68 per cent of NHS UNISON members – including nurses, paramedics, therapists, cooks, cleaners, healthcare assistants and admin staff – voted yes for industrial action.
A SECamb spokesperson said, “South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) would like to thank the public and staff for their support during this morning’s national industrial action. Staff have responded well across the 999, Patient Transport and 111 services. We had robust contingency plans in place to ensure we could provide a safe and responsive service to those people who needed us.
“We would like to use this as an opportunity to remind the public that calling 999 should be reserved for serious emergencies and thank them for their ongoing support.”