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Ambulance workers

NHS disruption from UK strikes likely to continue into coming days health leaders say

NHS Providers said there had been ‘varying levels of disruption’ across the UK as nurses and ambulance drivers strike.

DISRUPTION TO HEALTHCARE in the UK is likely after strikes this week spill over into the coming days, health leaders have warned.

People whose conditions might have worsened because they delayed seeking help are a particular concern, the membership organisation for NHS hospital, mental health, community and ambulance services said.

NHS Providers also warned about the knock-on effect on appointments that need to be rescheduled and said they expected a return to “very high numbers” of emergency calls.

embedded270345060 Ambulances parked outside the West Midlands Ambulance Service Jacob King / PA Jacob King / PA / PA

The number of people phoning 999 appeared to have dropped in some parts of England today as thousands of ambulance staff and paramedics went on strike until midnight.

NHS Providers said there had been “varying levels of disruption” across the country, with some demand shifting to other services or not materialising as expected.

But the organisation added that demand for care across the whole healthcare system remained high and trust leaders were reporting ongoing delays to ambulance services and overcrowding at some accident and emergency departments.

Some ambulance trusts reported receiving fewer calls during the day, with West Midlands Ambulance Trust thanking people for heeding advice to only call in an emergency.

industry-strikes Press Association Images Press Association Images

NHS Providers said it had reports of trust leaders and staff feeling “a sense of helplessness and moral injury” at not being able to provide help in a week that saw nurses and ambulance workers go on strike.

But the organisation said trust leaders “of course understand” the strong feelings of nurses and ambulance staff, and appealed for “urgent, serious talks – including on pay” between the UK Government and unions in a bid to avert further industrial action.

Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “Leaders across the NHS also know that as this week’s strike action draws to a close, the disruption is far from over.

“The fallout from strike action is likely to spill over into the coming days due to the knock-on impact across different parts of the health and care system, the need to reschedule elective and outpatient appointments, and the anticipation of a return to very high numbers of emergency calls.

embedded270344580 Ambulance workers on the picket line in Coventry PA PA


The GMB and Unite unions in the region had agreed to respond to category 1 and serious category 2 calls.

The Welsh Ambulance Service told PA “demand is manageable” but warned that “any influx of calls would put significant pressure on our service”.

The trust later said the “challenge has been growing throughout the day” and “we are trying our best to get to patients who need us”.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust said the day had been less busy than expected and it had been “coping”, although patients have had to wait longer for an ambulance.

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