Junior doctors are preparing to walk out over proposed changes to their contracts - which could lead to ‘inevitable’ disruption for patients in Worthing and Chichester.
Following a ballot of more than 37,000 junior doctors in England, more than 99 per cent have voted in favour of industrial action short of a strike, and 98 per cent for full strike action.
The first strike which is set to affect Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s in Chichester, will start on December 1.
A spokesman for the BMA, the doctors’ trade union, said: “While the BMA regrets the inevitable disruption that this will cause, junior doctors have clearly been left with no alternative due to the government’s continued threat to impose a contract that is unsafe for patients and unfair for doctors.”
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.
Dr Rob Haigh, Deputy Medical Director at the trust, said: “The safety of our patients is our number one priority and we are working with colleagues to understand the full implications of the action voted for by junior doctors.
“We will do all we can to maintain services but if it is necessary to postpone some planned services we will contact the patients affected directly, giving as much notice as possible.”
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