More expected to take industrial action next week.
Ambulance bosses are warning that a second day of national strike action, which will affect all ambulance services, could have a much bigger affect than the first with long delays.
West Midlands Ambulance Service is expecting a large number of staff to walk-out between 7.00am and 11.00am on Monday 24th November as part of a national dispute with the Government over pay. The concern is that the level of disruption will be considerably bigger than that experienced on Monday 13th October. This will result in significant delays of up to four hours in an ambulance arriving at less serious cases, or to cases such as elderly people who have fallen with a broken hip, abdominal pain or headaches. In some cases which are not genuinely life-threatening, the difficult decision will have to be made not to send an ambulance at all.
The Trust has agreed with local unions measures to preserve a service to the patients most in need but is appealing to the public not to call 999 unless it is absolutely necessary. If you call 999 during the strike, unless it is genuinely life-threatening, you could put the lives of those in greatest need at risk.
Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer Mark Gough said: “There will be significant delays, people may have to wait up to four hours or there may not be an ambulance response at all for the minor and non-life-threatening calls that we receive. For example, people who dial 999 and are unsure of what the problem is, people who dial 999 with a minor fracture such as a broken wrist or a sprain, non-severe blood loss, abdominal pain or generally feeling unwell. These are the types of 999 calls that may not receive a response immediately or at all.”
A ballot of Unison, Unite and GMB members voted to take industrial action as a result of the government’s decision to not apply a 1% pay award in full to all NHS staff in accordance with the national public sector pay review body’s recommendations.
In addition to the four hours of strike action on Monday 24th November, members of Unison and GMB will also take action short of a strike for the rest of the week. Members of Unite will work to rule until January 18th.This additional action will reduce the number of ambulances and rapid response vehicles available to respond to 999 emergencies across the West Midlands. This will mean slower responses during this time.