Ambulance service staff at picket line in Ramsgate on day of strike action

Picket line in December close to Ramsgate's ambulance station Photo Frank Leppard

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?

Photo Frank Leppard

“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.

Photo Frank Leppard

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.


  1. We will all benefit if ambulance workers and other health workers get a decent pay rise.
    Ever wondered where all the tax payers money spent on the NHS goes to?
    Well, last week we got just a glimpse. Parents around the country are anxious about the new Strep A infection that has killed nearly 20 children so far.
    Fortunately, if recognised in time, a medicine exists to treat it. Normally, it costs 80p a packet.
    But , just now, the medicine costs a staggering £19 per packet! The pharmaceutical company involved inflated its price due to “market forces” apparently!
    Labour Lord ,Prem Sikka, has asked in the House of Lords if the government is happy to pay this hugely inflated price and if we wouldn’t be better-off by building an NHS factory to produce the stuff ourselves.
    But the government spokesperson in the House of Lords confirmed that the government will start to pay this new price and has no plans to seek alternative sources.
    So THAT is the way that the NHS is being drained of money and resources and this current government is complicit.Instead of standing up to the profiteers who grow rich out of the patient’s suffering, they go along with it , but then complain that the health workers’ pay demands are “unaffordable”!
    You couldn’t make it up!

  2. was told ambulances in thanet have been seen with L plates attached, maybe a training exercise But Thank you for what you do.

    Ta so much

  3. A lot of the private firms working in the NHS have MPs relatives sitting on the boards as directors MPs have to declare an interest but their relatives don’t have to and the firms are leeches on the back of the NHS. It’s been going on for years. The lady Bra scandal is just the tip of the iceberg.

  4. Long before this strike, sick people were waiting hours, not minutes, for an ambulance.
    Long before … they would be kept on a trolley, in a corridor, for hours, waiting for treatment.
    Long before … vital local services were cut back and “rationalized”, resulting in hours long journeys for routine treatments.
    Long before … if you actually made it to a hospital, were treated in a timely way and recovered, you wouldn’t go home, because there was no community support available.
    The common factor?
    This despicable Tory government.

  5. what a sorry state this tory led ountry is in – and yet we still send so called foriegn aid overseas, its high time we started looking after our own people and they started solving the problems we have.

  6. Torys were happy to stand on their door steps at 8pm on Thursdays and clap. But we all knew when it came to paying them the Tories wouldnt

    • Hope you only have access to non lefty scum if ever required from your ivory tower of greatness .
      Why keep promulgating your level of intellect?

      • The solidarity will stop when one of their loved ones drops dead because they can’t get an ambulance. As with the Army, anyone “working” for emergency services shouldn’t be allowed to strike.

        • The “Army” has different terms of service – that are made clear when you join , no striking ,X factor payments etc – all arms of the military do not get paid enough – as being salaried for 24 hrs a day every day – bank holidays / leave was / is a privilege- not a right. The risk of death / injury – being involved in conflicts is higher than emergency services .
          However being spat at , assaulted , dealing with violent conflicts day in day out with lack of staff , equipment etc and not being issued with PPE and consequently contracting & dying of Covid is what the civilian emergency service personnel whilst trying to actually do their job have and are enduring . Death is not part of the terms and conditions . I lost two colleagues due to them contracting Covid as no PPE available – a young fit doctor and a nurse – a few others have has long covid and psychological trauma .
          Quite a few civilian emergency service workers are ex/ retired military – many of them are on strike .

    • If you have scum left why haven’t you changed your soap? And why do you think IoTN responders are interested in your ablution problems?

      • In a posting on another thread, Mr Checksfield says that he doesn’t use Loop buses because of “smelly people”.
        In light of his revelations about his personal hygiene problems, one wonders just who it was that smelled?

  7. Ask Theresa May why her husband is it was on the board of directors for one of these PAC’s( ambulance companies)that operate in Kent.

  8. The money the Bank of England had to pay out to keep SS UK afloat after the Truss/Kwatang debacle would have been enough to double every nurses salary.
    So when the Health Secretary says we can’t afford to pay the nurses, he’s lying.

  9. A very happy Christmas & New Year to Peter Checksfield a chap who injects common sense and sometimes humorous comments on these news threads and takes a lot of stick for expressing his opinions.

    • And to you Laurence…and to Phyllis, Andrew, Carly, Bill, the 2 Ians, Christine, all the anons, and Kathy!

      (Incidentally, I’m quite a jolly person in reality, and LOVE Christmas! Yesterday I attended a fantastic Christmas Carols concert at the Royal Albert Hall, an AMAZING experience!!).

  10. I don’t expect Peter Checksfield watches Politics Live, but I do, and a couple of weeks ago they were discussing why public service workers wages have fallen so low that many are having to use Food Banks, and may become homeless due to the rise in rents, and mortgage repayments etc. The Strapline on screen read “Public Service workers must have pay cut to pay for the rich tax cuts”. Nurses pay needs at least a 20% increase to bring wages back to same level of 10 years ago!

    Its Tory dogma, as expressed by Liz Trust et al, give the rich money, and they will invest it creating jobs! Yeah right! Its Micky Mouse economics and has never worked, its called the “Trickle Down” effect! What does work though, is if the low paid have their wages increased, then they will spend it, so creating more jobs! Its called the “Trickle UP” effect But no, the Tory’s are wedded to the notion public sector workers must pay for tax cuts of the wealthy because they are the easiest to control! Its nothing to do with bringing inflation down! If the likes of Checksfield think Tory tactics to bust public sector workers strike action by bullying them back to work in collusion with the rabid right wing press will work, they are wrong! There is more solidarity now than there was nearly 45 years when they last tried slagging off strikers, probably as a result of so called “Social Media”!

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