Patients and visitors arriving at Chesterfield Royal Hospital today will be greeted by a group of junior doctors striking for the second time.
Their dispute revolves around the government wanting to “force through unsafe and unfair contracts”.
The campaigners say the term junior doctor is misleading as many are in their 20s or 30s and fully-qualified medical professionals.
They are in training for 15 years on their way to becoming GPs, consultants, medical researchers and lecturers.
People on the picket line are also keen to get their message through to the public that working as a junior doctor already involves long hours, great expectation and the ability to juggle many tasks according to some of the protesters.
They feel that the new contracts being proposed would lead to them working excessive hours and threaten the quality of care patients receive.
The dispute led to the first junior doctor strike in 40 years - today was the second wave of that.
One striker at the Chesterfield hospital, Dr Ian Petransky identifies “the number of lies told by the health sectary” as one of the key reasons for striking, specifically referencing a report on weekend deaths. He feels this report has created an “inaccurate public opinion to vilify the profession”.
Today, the people on the picket line said they would all rather be at their place of work, caring and treating patients, but they feel they have been left no option.
They said they were “serving patients by striking” in order to preserve the quality of care the NHS can provide in the future.
“If we don’t make a stand other parts of the NHS will suffer,” said Dr Petransky.
Bosses at the hospital say emergency and essential services are protected and will not be affected by the 24-hour strike.
Medical director Dr Gail Collins assured patients that the right cover is in place to provide safe care.
She said: “We are protecting our Emergency Department and the critical services in our hospital, including children’s and maternity care,” she commented. “These will not be affected by any strike action.
“We are using similar plans that we agreed with our medical teams at the end of 2015 when national action was originally planned and during the strike action in January.
“We will have enhanced support from our prescribing pharmacist team in the ward areas to ensure that there is a smooth flow in discharge arrangements and there will be a named consultant supporting each ward.
“These make sure, that even without our juniors we have consultants and other senior doctors in the right places, so that we can provide safe care for the patients in our hospital at that time.”