North East Ambulance Service urges public to use service wisely during industrial action

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) is urging the public to only dial 999 for an ambulance during strike days for life-threatening conditions or injury.

Three unions have voted to part in industrial action because of a national dispute with the Government over the 2022/23 pay award:

  • GMB – 21 and 28 December 00.01h to 23.59h (24 hours)
  • Unite – 21 December 00.01h to 23.59h (24 hours)
  • Unison – 21 December 12:00h - 00.00h (12 hours)

NEAS has put in place a number of contingency plans for the national strikes by healthcare unions and has agreed some exemptions to allow us to respond to high acuity life-threatening cases during the strike.

However NEAS is clear that we will not be able to respond to all calls of a serious nature and there are likely to be significant delays in response for patients who have  to less serious illness or injury.

Updated information regarding upcoming industrial action can be found here: Information regarding upcoming industrial action - North East Ambulance Service - NHS Foundation Trust (

Stephen Segasby, chief operating officer at NEAS, said: “Our priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our patients and staff. We have planned with great care for this strike, but our services will be extremely busy and we do expect them to be severely disrupted.

“We also anticipate that the days after the strike will be busy and as we head into an extended bank holiday over Christmas, we want to encourage people to use services wisely and prepare where possible.

“Ambulances will still be able to respond during the strike, but this will only be where there is an immediate risk to life.

“This means that less serious calls will not receive a response for the duration of the strike action and some patients might be asked to make their own way to hospital, where it is safe for them to so.

“Patients waiting for an ambulance should only call back if your symptoms worsen so that our health advisors are available to take new emergency calls or to cancel an ambulance if alternative transport has been arranged.”

During the period of industrial action, GP surgeries, pharmacies and urgent treatment centres will still be open and will be available.

For further guidance on the industrial action, visit the NHS England website.

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