Dozens of junior doctors are striking over proposed changes to their contracts – forming picket lines outside St Richard’s Hospital this morning (January 12).
Holding placards saying ‘we take care of you, please take care of us’ and ‘Junior doctors contract – it’s everyone’s fight’ doctors at St Richard’s protested outside the hospital 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 Western Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, which has postponed planned outpatient appointments, day-case procedures and inpatient surgeries.
Medical director at the trust Dr George Findlay said: “We have taken the decision to postpone a small number of appointments and procedures to ensure we can maintain our normal standards of patient safety during the industrial action.
“We will be contacting everyone affected to reschedule their treatment as soon as possible.”
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