JUNIOR doctors have been called “outrageously selfish towards members of the public” as today’s strike causes more than 2,500 appointments to be cancelled across the county.

NHS officials have warned patients they only go to A&E if their condition is serious or life-threatening during the two-day strike due to start at 8am this morning.

The walk-out over new seven-day contracts will be the first in the history of the NHS to affect accident and emergency care.

Councillor Ken Norman, the Conservative spokesman on Brighton and Hove City Council’s health and wellbeing board, said: “Doctors are being outrageously selfish towards members of the public.

“I think they are wrong to be taking this action, they should be negotiating with the government.

“They’re acting totally irresponsibly and I do worry about the effect this current strike is going to have on emergency services.”

Yesterday The Argus carried a defence of the industrial action by Dr Sophia Galloway, a Brighton GP.

She said: “The junior doctors do not want to strike. The strike would be halted straight away if the Government stopped the imposition of the new contract and re-entered negotiations.”

The walkout will run from 8am to 5pm BST today and tomorrow.

A total of 2,685 appointments including 362 operations have been cancelled, but patients will already have been advised of cancellations by letter well in advance.

The pressure will be on emergency rooms, and NHS spokespeople were at pains to point out that a normal service will be running but that people should think twice before calling 999 or coming to A&E.

A spokesman for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said: “Maintaining the safety of our patients is our priority throughout the period of industrial action.

“Emergency care will be available during the period of industrial action but the public should ensure they use A&E responsibly and use other alternative services.”

Other NHS professionals echoed his remarks, adding that specialist nurses would be on hand to support those doctors and consultant still at work.

In Brighton the Station Health Centre will be open as a venue for receiving emergency care, and additional GPs have been placed on standby to support “see and treat” paramedic responses, to minimise strain on emergency rooms and hospital staff.

Normal GP surgeries and services should be largely unaffected.


JUNIOR doctors – a rank which includes some medical professionals with more than 10 years’ professional experience – will walk out between 8am and 5pm in protest at plans by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to force through contractual changes.

The new contracts, which the Government claims is part of an attempt to create a seven-day NHS not a cost-cutting exercise, increase basic pay but reduce overtime and decrease the number of hours considered “antisocial”.

Hospital trusts have prepared for the walkout by cancelling scheduled appointments – largely outpatient procedures – and redeploying consultants to cover shifts usually worked by junior doctors.


IF YOU have a scheduled appointment for the next two days and have not received a cancellation letter, you should go to your appointment and expect to be seen.

If you fall ill with a non-urgent condition, you are advised to visit the NHS Choices website or go to your pharmacist.

If you need more urgent care, contact your GP or phone the 111 non-emergency hotline. GPs will be under greater strain, so contact them early if possible.

NHS advice is that only patients with serious or life-threatening conditions should visit A&E during normal working hours.