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West's junior doctors begin 48 hour strike

Credit: ITV West Country

Junior doctors across the South West will walk out on strike again this morning (9 March) from 8am.

It's the latest action in a row over new contracts. The BMA say their striking against the imposed changes in pay for unsocial hours, claiming it devalues the work doctors do on evenings and weekends.

Picket line in Taunton from the second strike action taken in February. Credit: ITV West Country

This will be the first 48 hour strike, ending at 8am on Friday.

Hundreds of non-emergency operations and appointments have been cancelled, but emergency cover is still being provided.

Credit: ITV West Country

Meanwhile, all hospitals in Somerset remain on Black Alert - meaning they're all struggling to cope with unprecedented demand for services.

Patients have been urged to stay away from A & E unless it's a genuine emergency.

Yeovil Hospital downgraded from black to red alert

The severe pressure on emergency services at Yeovil District Hospital has eased slightly, with the hospital no longer at "black alert".

The alert status has now been downgraded to "red alert", the second highest possible level of severity. The hospital is still very busy and says it is facing significant operational challenges.

Black alert occurs when the hospital can no longer deal with the number of patients coming into A&E because too few are being discharged.

HOSPITALS STILL ON BLACK ALERT

  • Southmead Hospital
  • the BRI
  • Bristol Royal Hospital for Children
  • Weston General Hospital

WHAT DOES RED ALERT MEAN?

A hospital on red alert means that wards are still very busy with limited bed space. All non-urgent work and clinics are usually cancelled so that resourced can be concentrated on the emergency services.

It also means urgent actions are required across the local health system by all partners to prevent the hospital going into black alert.

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  1. Katie Rowlett

NHS managers in the West say they 'can cope' with demand this winter

NHS managers in the West say they 'can cope' with demand Credit: PA:Lynne Cameron

There are around 40,000 deaths every year because of the cold, mainly in elderly.

It's down to simple things like people not heating their homes to at least 18°C. Just by doing this you can prevent respiratory illnesses but also colds and flu.

But also when we get a cold snap there is an Increase in fractures due to snow and ice, which also puts pressure on our A and E departments and hospital beds.

Normally NHS England South West is given its winter money now, but this year it was provided by the Government in April so health managers have been able to plan earlier.

NHS England South West says this year health and social care services have been joined up so there will not be as many bed blocking situations like we've seen in previous years.

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