Junior doctors’ strikes suspended across Sussex

Doctors strike outside Worthing Hospital. Pictures by Eddie Mitchell SUS-161201-094403001
Doctors strike outside Worthing Hospital. Pictures by Eddie Mitchell SUS-161201-094403001

Junior doctors have suspended planned 48-hour industrial action due to start next Tuesday (January 26) as talks continue between the BMA and NHS bosses.

Planned appointments for some patients at hospitals across Sussex were cancelled last Tuesday (January 12) as junior doctors staged a 24 hour walk out over changes to their contract.

The BMA (British Medical Association) resumed talks with the government on Thursday (January 14) following the strike.

Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chairman, said: “The BMA’s aim has always been to deliver a safe, fair junior doctor contract through negotiated agreement.

“Following junior doctors’ clear message to the government during last week’s action, our focus is now on building on early progress made in the current set of talks.

“On this basis, the BMA has today taken the decision to suspend the industrial action planned for 26-28 January, thereby giving trusts as much notice as possible so as to avoid disruption to patients.

“It is important to be clear, however, that differences still exist between the BMA and the Government on key areas, including the protection of patient safety and doctor’s working lives, and the recognition of unsocial hours. Significant, concrete progress will need to be made if future action, currently planned for 10 February, is to be averted.”

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.

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