JUNIOR doctors started their two-day industrial action yesterday over proposed new contracts.
The strike was due to continue today with a picket line outside Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
Medical professionals carried signs saying ‘Not safe for doctors, not safe for patients’ and ‘Save our NHS.’
Badges, stickers and leaflets from the British Medical Association (BMA) were handed out.
Reza Rahman, from the anaesthetics department at QA, said: ‘The main reason we are striking is because the contract has been imposed on us.
‘It is a contract that we feel, as a junior doctor body, is unsafe and unfair.
‘One of the main proposals is to remove safeguards to work excessive hours.
‘We cannot be stretched seven days a week on the resources we have.’
He added: ‘The public have been giving us great support and support for junior doctors is increasing.
‘We don’t want to be striking, but we need to send a strong message to the government.’
As reported in The News, the long-running dispute between junior doctors and the government started in October last year.
Junior doctors feel the contract has been forced upon them with little negotiation.
The first strike by the BMA was held in January and saw thousands of doctors walk out for the first time in 40 years.
Since then, several more strikes have been held in a bit to get Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to look again at the contract.
Simon Fairweather, a critical care doctor from Portsmouth, took part in the strike. He said: ‘At a superficial level, I’m against the idea of the government bullying us into this contract. On a more personal level, it is the work/life balance that does not work for me.
‘The only thing that will solve the industrial action will be proper negotiations. That is all we want.
‘We have never asked for more pay or for this dispute to be solved in the means that it has been.’
The News asked Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the QA, how many operations and outpatient appointments had been postponed due to the strikes, but it did not respond.