Do YOU think ambulance workers are right to strike? Vote here

Do YOU think ambulance workers are right to strike? Vote here and tell us why…

  • Read: Everything you need to know about today’s ambulance strikes 
  • Have YOU experienced ambulance delays due to the ongoing strikes? Email [email protected]
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Do YOU agree with ambulance workers striking?

Do YOU agree with ambulance workers striking?

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Up to 10,000 NHS ambulance staff will strike today, marking the biggest walk-out of its kind since the 1980s. 

Today’s action — co-ordinated by three separate unions — comes at a time when the system is already buckling.

Heart attack victims in parts of England already face an hour-long wait to be taken to hospital, data suggests.  

Ministers have pleaded with Britons not to do anything ‘risky’, and only call 999 when lives are genuinely at risk. The NHS has urged everyone to ‘drink sensibly’. 

MailOnline app users can vote in the poll by clicking here. 

The Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, last night met with union bosses in a last ditch attempt to avert the chaos, planned at nine of England’s ten trusts and at Wales’ only service. 

No deal on pay was struck, however.  

No10 insists its offer, a flat payment of roughly £1,400, is fair. It amounts to around 4 per cent for most ambulance staff who, on average, earn £34,000.

Graphic shows: The average response times for Category 1, 2, 3 and 4 calls to ambulance services across England (left), and the average response time for each call (red) compared to the target response time (blue) across all services (right)

Graphic shows: The average time it takes for ambulance services across England to pick up 999 calls

Military personnel from the Household Division take part in ambulance driver training at Wellington Barracks in London, as they prepare to provide cover for ambulance workers on December 21 and 28

Elizabeth Jane Davies, 93, suffered a hip fracture in a fall at her residential care home in Llanbedrog, Llyn Peninsula

GMB, Unite and Unison, the unions behind the strikes, want more. 

One of them has asked for a ‘catch-up settlement’ to restore lost earnings over the past decade. 

Another wants an inflation-busting hike, which could amount to at least 11 per cent.

The unions have agreed nationally to provide a ‘life and limb’ level of service — which involves responding to category one 999 calls, like cardiac arrests.

But other exemptions, or derogations, are being negotiated on a trust by trust basis.

It means taxi drivers, soldiers and police officers could be called in respond to some 999 calls.

Health officials stress the public should still dial 999 in the event of an emergency.

Another walk-out is planned next week, but only by the GMB union. 

Everything you need to know about the ambulance strikes 

When are the strikes?

The ambulance strikes will take place on Wednesday December 21 and Wednesday December 28.

Who is striking?

Members of three unions, GMB, Unison and Unite, which represent around 25,000 ambulance workers, are walking out on a coordinated strike on Wednesday December 21.

The action will involve ambulance workers, paramedics, call handlers and emergency care assistants in 10 out of 11 NHS trusts in England and Wales.

GMB union members will then stage a further strike at nine trusts on December 28.

Why are they striking?

The unions voted to strike in a dispute over the Government’s 4% pay award.

It comes as a real terms pay cut with the UK’s current inflation standing at 11%. 

Which areas will be affected?

The date and timings of the walkouts will vary between each union and ambulance service, as will the number of staff striking in each area.

More than 10,000 GMB members will walk out across nine trusts in England and Wales on both December 21 and December 28.

These include:

  • South West Ambulance Service
  • South East Coast Ambulance Service
  • North West Ambulance Service
  • South Central Ambulance Service 
  • North East Ambulance Service
  • East Midlands Ambulance Service
  • West Midlands Ambulance Service
  • Welsh Ambulance Service
  • Yorkshire Ambulance Service

Meanwhile, Unison members, including paramedics, emergency care assistants, ambulance technicians and other 999 crew, will walkout at five services on December 21.

These are:

  • London Ambulance Service
  • Yorkshire Ambulance Service
  • North West Ambulance Service
  • North East Ambulance Service
  • South West Ambulance Service

Workers represented by the Unite union will also walk out on December 21 at the following services:

  • North West Ambulance Service
  • West Midlands Ambulance Service
  • North East Ambulance Service

The regions most likely to be hit worst are the North East and North West of England, where all three unions have voted to strike.

Meanwhile, the East of England Ambulance Trust is the only one not affected by the walkouts. 

Can you get an ambulance?

It is expected that all category 1 calls – the most life-threatening such as cardiac arrest – will be responded to.

Some ambulance trusts have agreed to exemptions with unions for specific incidents within so-called category 2 which covers serious conditions, such as stroke or chest pain.

However, patients in category three – typically including falls – and category four are unlikely to be sent an ambulance during the strikes.

Military personnel are being drafted in to provide support on ambulance calls during the strike but will not drive ambulances on blue lights for the most serious calls.

What should you do in an emergency on strike days?

The Department of Health and Social Care has said advice remains for people to call 999 in an emergency.

Health minister Will Quince urged people to stay safe during Wednesday’s strike, telling BBC Breakfast: ‘Where people are planning any risky activity, I would strongly encourage them not to do so because there will be disruption on the day.’

The health minister also told the public that in any emergency calling 999 should still be the first option.

‘But the key thing is for anybody that does have an emergency situation or a life-threatening situation that they continue to call 999 as they would have done previously, and for any other situation, NHS 111 or NHS 111 online.’

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