West Suffolk Hospital’s doctors put patient safety first during one day strike

A collage of West Suffolk Hospital doctors' picket line pictures by 'Amrita Gurung ANL-160114-114051001
A collage of West Suffolk Hospital doctors' picket line pictures by 'Amrita Gurung ANL-160114-114051001
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West Suffolk Hospital has praised its doctors for the way they ensured safe services during the national junior doctors’ strike on Tuesday.

With 35 to 40 doctors on the picket line during the morning, the hospital’s British Medical Association representatives were attending regular meetings inside to ensure the wards were coping.

Doctors' picket line at West Suffolk Hospital'Picture by Emma Gordon ANL-160114-114115001

Doctors' picket line at West Suffolk Hospital'Picture by Emma Gordon ANL-160114-114115001

Jon Green, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said: “We have an excellent relationship with our junior doctors and worked closely with them and our consultants in the run up to the industrial action to put contingency plans in place. Our focus at all times was 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.

“Our emergency department was open as usual.”

Dr Emma Gordon, a eurology registrar involved with the BMA’s organisation at West Suffolk, stressed: “This is not a dispute between doctors and the hospital. The management at West Suffolk has been phenomenally supportive and we’ve been working with them.”

Doctors' picket line at West Suffolk Hospital'Picture by Emma Gordon ANL-160114-114104001

Doctors' picket line at West Suffolk Hospital'Picture by Emma Gordon ANL-160114-114104001

She said doctors’ primary concern over new contracts was one of patient safety.

“It’s the removal of safeguards on working hours,” she said. “There’s no disincentive for hours limits to be breached.”

Current contracts impose financial penalties on hospitals whose doctors exceed their 48 hours over seven days.

Dr Gordon also denied Government claims of a wage rise, explaining: “We all get a basic salary which has uplifts for anti-social hours. For most people it means an uplift of 25 per cent. The idea is that they would do away with that and compensate us with 11 per cent on basic salary.”