Appointments rescheduled at Worthing and Chichester hospitals

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Hundreds of planned outpatients appointments have been rescheduled following the strike action by junior doctors.

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Worthing and St Richard’s hospitals, said 15 per cent of planned outpatients have been cancelled as a result of the industrial action.

A spokesman for the trust said 30 day case procedures and fewer than ten inpatient operations have also been postponed.

More than 30 Worthing hospital staff have spoken out against the government’s new proposals for junior doctors’ contracts this morning (January 12).

Doctors, hospitals staff and members of the public formed a picket line from 8am to protest against the changes to junior doctors contracts – which the BMA is arguing will see the medics work longer hours for an unsociable wage.

The strike was declared last week, after talks between the NHS and the BMA collapsed.

Junior doctor Katrina Barett, 29, said: “I think it is unfortunate that it has come to this.

“The government has not accepted our case and we are not made to feel respected, only undervalued.

“I work in A&E at the moment, and look after around 15 to 20 patients on average daily. Who would do that without us?”

Joe Hedgecoch, 23, of Nevill Avenue, Hove, said: “I have only been a junior doctor five months, and I think it is unfair what we are being forced to do.

“A junior doctor works most of the jobs in a hospital, and it can be tough for us without this added pressure.”

Pauline Fraser, a retired teacher from Charlecote Road, Honeypot, joined the protest.

She said: “I understand why the doctors have been forced to take action today.

“They have the same arguments I once had as a teacher when we were accused of depriving people, and people in this type of public service are hit time and time again.”

Nat Duke, 37, junior doctor representative for the BMA, said: “The main concern we have is that the contract forced through by Jeremy Hunt pushes doctors to their limit.

“We have to do this as a result, but I would like to stress that all patients will be looked after in Worthing and will not be affected by the strike.”

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