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Junior doctors on the picket line outside Cheltenham General Hospital

Junior doctors are continuing their all-out strike outside Cheltenham General Hospital. Credit: ITV News
The strike is affecting emergency care services, including maternity care and A&E. Credit: ITV News
Its the fifth time since the start of a dispute with the government over a new contract that the junior doctors have walked out. Credit: ITV News

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"I was told to watch the news to see if the strikes went ahead" says patient

Sam Pearce has had to rearrange her appointment but supports the strike Credit: Sam Pearce

Sam Pearce from Nailsea says she wasn't happy with the advice she got:

"I'm due to have an appointment for general surgery for a cyst which got cancelled the first time then got given the appointment that was supposed to be today."

"But Southmead rang me on Thursday to say that my appointment may or may not be cancelled which confused me greatly, I asked her how I would find out if my appointment was still going ahead."

"I was told to watch the news and if the strikes went ahead then I wouldn't have an appointment but if they didn't go ahead then my appointment would remain the same."

"I felt a bit bemused by this and decided to rearrange the appointment myself because I couldn't take the day off work just to sit in and watch the news, now I have to wait till June for another appointment."

"Don't get me wrong I completely understand the strike action but thought it was rather unprofessional to tell me to watch the news to find out if my appointment was still available."

Southmead hospital were unable to confirm whether or not Sam received the above advice but a spokesperson says they're sorry for any inconvenience caused to patients.

This information was given on their website:

Due to the short-term nature of the cancellation we are contacting patients by phone to inform them of their cancellation and sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Our aim is to reschedule any cancellations as quickly as possible.

If you do not hear from us and you are due to come into hospital on April 26 and 27 for an appointment or planned admission, please assume this is still going ahead.

In the event that the industrial action is called off, outpatient appointments will continue to run as normal. Please attend with your letter. However, it will not be possible to reinstate cancelled operations.

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  1. West Country (W)

South West families head to Westminster to demand more support for victims of contaminated blood

People in our region will launch a protest at plans to support victims of the contaminated blood scanda Credit: ITV News

The victims of contaminated blood and their families are in Westminster today to protest against Government plans to reform their financial support.

Around 6000 people across the country were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C from blood products given by the NHS during the 1970s and 80s.

There are calls in the House of Commons for more support for contaminated blood victims Credit: PA

Many of those affected were haemophiliacs - born with a condition which means that their blood does not clot properly, meaning any bleeding incident could potentially be fatal.

The protest comes ahead of a major Parliamentary debate this afternoon.

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