Ambulance workers strike: Patients have to hail taxis to get to the emergency room

taxi

Rishi Sunak and Steve Barclay have refused to negotiate pay despite concerns for patients (Image: Getty Images)

Some patients are told to go to the emergency room themselves or to hail a taxi when ambulance workers go on strike On Wednesday.

A leaked internal memo from the North West Ambulance Service says those suffering from cardiac arrest and “imminent threat of life” will continue to receive emergency care.

However, if an emergency room is required, immediate self-transport or taxi transport is recommended in all other circumstances.

Paramedics will be present for confirmed maternity emergencies – but the memo warns of “a significant and noticeable difference in the way we work”.

Patients from outpatient centers, emergency treatment centers, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities are not transferred to the emergency department unless the situation is immediate cardiac arrest or life is at risk.

NWAS patient transport service will only prioritize patients going to cancer, kidney and palliative care appointments.

Bosses are concerned they will face operational challenges for another 48 hours and have reportedly advised staff to prepare for 72 hours of downtime.

Ged Blezard, director of operations at NWAS, has encouraged people to call 999 in situations “where there is an imminent threat to life” – but confirmed other modes of transport should be considered in other circumstances.

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He said: “We have tried and tested plans to deal with disruption, including industrial action. However, it is important to understand that there will be implications for the public.”

Mr Blezard added that bosses are “working with our healthcare partners to ensure patient safety during these times of industrial unrest”.

Paramedics, ambulance technicians and call attendants are set to step out in a dispute over pay and patient safety in England and Wales on Wednesday.

According to Unite, the action is a “strong warning” to the Government that it must contain the crisis engulfing the NHS following the ministers’ “willful 12-year attack on pay”.

It comes like around 100,000 nurses are leaving today for the second time in a week.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay says he has concerns over whether all ambulances will cover all “category two” calls, which cover serious conditions such as stroke or chest pain.

Some ambulance trusts have agreed exceptions with unions for certain Category Two incidents, with sources suggesting they went beyond what is required by law.

Taxi drivers, military personnel and police officers may be asked to cover calls related to the less serious remaining two categories.

Despite his concern for patients, Mr Barclay has refused to negotiate pay with Unison, GMB and Unite.

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Eleven-hour talks are set to take place today on patient safety – but they will not include wages, meaning the strike is likely to continue. The GMB union is also planning a second strike on December 28th.

A Department for Health and Social Care source said Mr Barclay “hopes for a constructive discussion ahead of the planned ambulance strike”.

They added: “But he remains concerned that some union reps have still not confirmed they will cover all emergency calls in their talks with trusts. Some even suggest they could answer calls from pickets, which would increase delays.

“There is only so much our contingency plans can do – the planned ambulance strike this week will put patients at risk. If they intend to take industrial action, unions must ensure that emergency calls are adequately covered.’

Unison secretary-general Christina McAnea said she would meet with the health secretary but urged the government to “stop using public safety fears as a smoke screen for its own inaction”.

“There would be no strikes at all if ministers just talked to unions and improved NHS wages,” she added.

“I have cleared my diary and would be happy to meet the Secretary of State at any time to resolve the dispute which no one wants.”

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/12/20/ambulance-worker-strikes-patients-face-calling-taxis-to-get-to-ae-17966564/ Ambulance workers strike: Patients have to hail taxis to get to the emergency room

Justin Scacco

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