Hospital patients in Norfolk face disruption over the next two weeks due to strike action.

As part of the longest-ever industrial action in NHS history, junior doctors who belong to the British Medical Association will be walking out from 7am today for five days to campaign for better pay, the latest in a series of walkouts staged since the end of last year.

A senior NHS executive in the east of England has warned the service will face its "most challenging period yet", and to ensure care urgent care is available for those who need it, thousands of routine appointments and procedures for patients are being postponed.

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Adam Cayley, chief operating officer for the NHS in the east of England said: "From tomorrow, the NHS is bracing itself for 11 days of industrial action.

"We are expecting more disruption in comparison to previous strikes, given the longer period and cumulative action by our medical professionals.

"However, any patient who needs urgent medical care should still visit their A&E department as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases, where they will be treated safely.

In June, strikes by junior doctors saw nearly 15,000 hospital appointments in the east of England disrupted over three days.

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But many more appointments are expected to be impacted this year as the five-day junior doctor strike will be followed by a consultants walkout - the first in more than 10 years - as well as by radiographers.

Leaders of striking doctors have said "we have to get back to talks" over terms, with reports suggesting prime minister Rishi Sunak is soon due to meet with chancellor Jeremy Hunt to make a decision on approving a 6pc pay rise for public sector workers. 

The public can stay up to date by checking local NHS Trusts' websites and social media channels for any local disruption, as well as following NHS East of England on Twitter.