Eastbourne junior doctors on strike today

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Editorial image

Junior doctors in Eastbourne and the surrounding areas will go out on strike from 8am this morning (Tuesday).

The industrial action comes after talks with NHS bosses failed.

Outpatients appointments, procedures and some operations have been cancelled at hospitals across Sussex.

The strike is set to begin at 8am and junior doctors will only be providing emergency care.

Industrial action was announced last week, after talks between the doctor’s union, the British Medical Association and the NHS broke down.

The BMA last month agreed to cancel three strikes to re-enter talks with the government.

The BMA)said the government has ‘continually failed’ to address junior doctors’ concerns, arguing government proposals to change their contracts would be ‘unsafe’ for patients and ‘unfair’ for doctors.

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.

Prime Minister David Cameron has warned the strike will cause ‘real difficulties for patients and potentially worse’, adding the strike was unnecessary and ‘damaging’. Mr Cameron has urged doctors not to strike and continue talks.

NHS England said 1,425 inpatient operations and procedures were being cancelled as a result of the strike alongside 2,535 outpatient ones.

It said there are around 4,000 cancellations in total, of which 3,400 are today (Tuesday).

Junior doctors are also set to walk out on January 26 with a full walk out – including emergency care – proposed for February 10.

Most hospitals have said if patients have not been contacted, then their appointments will be going ahead as planned.

East Sussex Healthcare Trust, which runs Conquest Hospital in Hastings and Eastbourne DGH has contacted patients who have had appointments cancelled and asked patients who have not been contacted to attend as normal.

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