Patients at Conquest Hospital to be affected by strike

Demonstrators outside the Conquest Hospital in Hastings on the day of the junior doctors' strike. SUS-161201-111915001
Demonstrators outside the Conquest Hospital in Hastings on the day of the junior doctors' strike. SUS-161201-111915001

Patients are set to be affected as junior doctors prepare to strike at Conquest Hospital in Hastings and Eastbourne DGH tomorrow.

Last-minute talks have been taking place between the British Medical Association and the government in a bid to stop Wednesday’s strike over a contract dispute.

However, if no agreement is reached, junior doctors in England will take part in their second 24-hour walk-out from 8am on February 10 until 8am on February 11.

East Sussex Healthcare Trust is expecting outpatients appointments, day-case operations and inpatient operations to be postponed.

A spokesman for the trust said plans have been put in place to ensure services are run safely.

He said: “From 8am on February 10 to 8am February 11, emergency care will be prioritised - we expect to run all urgent and emergency care services (including A&E and maternity) and all community services.

“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 (this is a national strike).

“Patients whose appointments or procedures have regrettably been cancelled as a result of the industrial action, have been contacted directly.

“They have been told their appointment or procedure will be rebooked as soon as possible.

“However if the strike is called off at the last minute, we are telling those patients to attend hospital as their appointment or procedure will continue as originally planned.”

Negotiations between the BMA and NHS Employers for new consultants and junior doctors’ contracts began in October 2013.

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.

It is believed the BMA put offered a proposal during talks that would have seen doctors’ basic pay rise by half the 11 per cent offered by the government in return for Saturday not be treated as a normal working day. However the offer was rejected.

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