Industrial Action

Patients advised to only call 999 in a life-threatening emergency

A four hour strike is set to take place on Monday, October 13, due to a national dispute between trade unions and the Government over pay.

The recognised unions in the ambulance service - UNISON and GMB - recently held ballots across the country, where their members voted for the action to take place between 07:00 and 11:00.

Action short of strike - a ban on overtime - will also take place from 00:01 on Tuesday, October 14, through to 23:59 on Friday, October 17.

We recognise the right of our staff to take this action, and understand that the decision is a difficult one for those who choose to take part. This is a national dispute that cannot be resolved by the trust.

Patients are advised to only use the 999 number in a life-threatening emergency.

Our overriding statutory obligation is to provide high quality and safe service to patients. Our focus is on taking all reasonable steps to mitigate the consequences of this action and we are talking with the unions to ensure that the impact of their action is minimized on our emergency care, patient transport and both our 999 and 111 services.

However, we expect strike action to have a considerable impact on our ability to respond to emergency calls.

We will not be able to respond to less serious green calls, nor provide a service for GP practices requesting urgent transport between 07:00 and 11:00 on Monday, October 13.

The action is also expected to affect the answering of 999 and 111 calls and cause a delay in dispatching.

There will be pressure in our contact centre throughout the day as we work to clear a backlog of calls and routine appointments.

During the four hours of the strike, our Patient Transport Service (PTS) will also be significantly affected.

We are still in discussions with the unions, but are planning to run an essential patient delivery service for people with life-threatening conditions, such as dialysis, oncology, palliative care and other high-dependency cases between 07:00 and noon.

For patients who have an appointment between 11:00 and noon, we do not expect to meet their appointment schedules as the service recovers once the strike is over.

We expect the PTS service to resume back to normal business after noon.

The overtime ban between Tuesday, October 14 and Friday, October 17, will affect emergency care and PTS further.

We are postponing training and non-essential meetings during the strike action and placing qualified managers and appropriately trained support staff onto front-line duties where appropriate.

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