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French travellers cause chaos in hospital car park

Hundreds of NHS workers, including doctors, nurses and emergency staff, were prevented from parking at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, South Wales on Monday morning as a group of French travellers had set up camp in the staff car park on Saturday.

NHS officials have written to the travellers asking them to move the 13 caravans from the hospital site by 4pm today (Tuesday), but it is understood the travellers - who are taking up 65 spaces in the 300-space area – have said they will not leave until Wednesday. They are believed to have come to the area for a funeral.

Aneurin Bevan Health Board released a statement which said: "We will ensure that security is available on site from 6am to 10pm every day to reassure and support staff during this situation." The hospital has been seeking legal advice as well as talking to the travellers to try and get the vehicles moved as soon as possible.

It claims rapid action over the weekend – including the use of social networking sites to highlight the situation - ensured that disruption was kept to a minimum when staff arrived for work on Monday morning.