Junior doctors man the picket lines at St Richards Hospital

Junior doctors striking in February PICTURE BY EDDIE MITCHELL

Junior doctors striking in February PICTURE BY EDDIE MITCHELL

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Around 40 doctors are manning the picket lines outside St Richards Hospital today (Tuesday, April 26) as they join the first ‘all out’ strike in the history of the NHS.

It means no emergency cover is being provided by the junior doctors today or tomorrow between 8am-5pm as they continue their dispute with the government over working hours, pay and payment for Saturday working.

Among them is Genevieve Booth, Foundation Year 2 junior doctor at St Richards who told the Observer today: “If we thought the new contract was acceptable we would not have gone this far, but the fact that we have called an all out strike is representative of the strength of feeling that this contract is not right for the junior doctors, the NHS or the safety of patients.

“I think we feel quite resigned and a bit sad this has had to happen. We feel hopeful the government will listen to our concerns and we can come to some kind of compromise. We would like to be able to continue negotiations, but there is anxiety about the new contract and whether it will be imposed.

She said the public continued to give the junior doctors huge support.

“Some of them have joined us with their own signs on the picket line. We have also had nursing staff come out from the hospital and join us and motorists have been tooting their horns in support.”

A spokesman for the Western Sussex Hospitals Trust which runs St Richards, Southlands at Shoreham and Worthing General Hospital said trust-wide around 550 patients were affected today (Tuesday, April 26) with some 475 outpatient appointments cancelled as well as 75 operations.

Around 460 patients are expected to be affected tomorrow (Wednesday, April 27) when about 400 outpatient appointments and 60 operations will be cancelled

“These numbers are broadly similar to those we have seen on previous industrial action days,” he said.

“We are not aware of any issues at this time.

“We thank the public for their continued support and patience during this challenging time, and would encourage people to visit www.nhs.uk/strike for further advice about how to access health services during industrial action.”

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