Paramedics, Emergency Care Assistants, call handlers and other ambulance service staff are manning picket lines in a days of strike action today (December 21)
GMB union members at ambulance service trusts across the country, including South East Coast ambulance service, have taken strike action in a dispute over the Government’s imposed 4 per cent pay award – which they say is another massive real terms pay cut.
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Secretary, said: “After twelve years of Conservative cuts to the service and their pay packets, NHS staff have had enough.
“The last thing they want to do is take strike action, but the government has left them with no choice.
“Steve Barclay needs to listen and engage with us about pay. If he can’t talk to us about this most basic workforce issue, what on earth is he Health Secretary for?
“The Government could stop this strike in a heartbeat – but they need to wake up and start negotiating on pay.”
Pickets include staff from Ramsgate’s ‘Make Ready’ ambulance station who are gathered on the New Haine Road close to the Toby carvery.
The NHS is asking patients to use services wisely during industrial action and take simple steps to help ensure care is available to patients who need it most.
This includes using 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and continuing to only use 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency.
Patients should continue to call 999 if anyone requires life-saving care with ambulance services prioritising the most clinically urgent cases. If it is not life-threatening you may have to wait longer than usual for an ambulance.
A further day of strike action is due to take place on December 28.
On December 19 South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) declared a ‘critical incident’ following more than a week of sustained pressure across 999 and 111 services.
The decision is due to the pressure which has significantly impacted the service’s ability to respond to patients.