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West Suffolk Hospital’s junior doctors come out on strike

17:53 12 January 2016

Junior doctors picketing at West Suffolk Hospital.

Junior doctors picketing at West Suffolk Hospital.

Juniors doctors “forced” into striking began picketing outside West Suffolk Hospital today (January 12).

From 8am until 12.30pm the 36 doctors – joined also by a few members of the public – made their opposition felt to government plans to impose a new contract many feel would be unfair and lead to “unsafe” working conditions.

Emma Gordon, 40, a British Medical Association member, helped organise Bury St Edmunds’ hospital strike.

“It’s been overwhelming, with really fantastic support from the public,” she said, adding none of the doctors had been “particularly keen” on coming out on strike in the first place but felt they were left with no other option.

“At the end of the day our main concern is that being asked to do this will mean becoming unsafe for our patients. Nobody wants their doctors making mistakes,” she said.

“It makes sense to everyone really if you have got well-rested doctors working sensible shifts.”

Speaking of West Suffolk Hospital, she described it as “fantastic”, with a “phenomenally supportive management team”.

“It’s a small hospital and everyone gets on very well, we have a fantastic culture here,” she said. “It’s a really nice hospital to work in.”

Although she said they received a lot of support today, Dr Gordon did say there were a few people who disagreed with them: “There was a small minority – I have to say it was a very small minority – some of them were understandably have unwell relatives in hospital and are upset and worried for them.”

She said they had moved to reassure them that there were other junior doctors still on duty in the hospital dealing with emergencies and other urgent cases.

A spokeswoman from West Suffolk Hospital said: “We have an excellent relationship with our junior doctors and worked closely with them and our consultants in the run up to the planned industrial action to put contingency plans in place. Our focus at all times has been on continuing to provide safe, effective care with minimal disruption for patients.

“During the day, we postponed 10 routine operations and five day cases as well as around 100 outpatient appointments. We are offering all of the patients affected an alternative date as soon as possible.

“Our emergency department has been open as usual and urgent and emergency care has not been affected.”

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