Over 100 junior doctors gathered outside the Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH) in Brighton on the second day of a three-day strike called by the British Medical Association (BMA).
The doctors were seen holding placards and chanting slogans outside the hospital while passing motorists honked their horns in support and waved at them. The striking doctors were demanding better working conditions and fair pay,
The British Medical Association (BMA) claims that junior doctors’ pay has decreased by 26% in real terms since 2008/09, and they are seeking a 35.3% pay increase to reverse this trend. Health Secretary Steve Barclay has invited the BMA for talks to address the issue, but the union has rejected the offer, stating that the pre-conditions were “unacceptable.” It is understood that the pre-conditions involved considering a non-consolidated lump sum payment for the previous year, while the BMA is calling for “full pay restoration.” The BMA has called on the government to withdraw these pre-conditions.
University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust has released a statement reminding patients that although junior doctors are on strike from March 13 to March 15, the NHS will still be available for urgent and emergency care. Patients are being asked to use services wisely, and emergency care will be prioritised.
During the three days of the strike, there is expected to be disruption to NHS services, including hospitals, mental health services, and GP practices. All health and care partners are working together to prepare for the industrial action and are asking for the public’s support.
Patients are being advised to use 111 online as the first port of call for health needs if it is not a life-threatening illness or injury. Pharmacies, walk-in centers, minor injury units, and urgent treatment centers will continue to be available, and some planned appointments and clinics are expected to be affected.
However, patients are being urged to continue to attend their appointments unless contacted directly by the NHS. Patients do not need to contact their NHS service or team in advance as the team will contact them directly if an appointment needs to be rescheduled.
Dr. Dinesh Sinha, NHS Sussex Chief Medical Officer, emphasized that patient safety is the absolute priority, and health and care partners are working together to ensure that essential urgent and emergency care services will be available. Patients are being asked to use services wisely and only use emergency departments and 999 for life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Dr. Sinha thanked the public for their support and expressed gratitude to all health and care staff across Sussex for their hard work and dedication.