Strike to affect Yorkshire Ambulance Service

Strikes are planned for Monday, November 24, as several major trade unions across the UK protest over pay, affecting the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

From 7am to 11am the available workforce at the NHS Trust will be reduced, as will its 999 service, meaning teams may not respond to emergencies as quickly as normal.

An agreement is in place allowing frontline A&E staff to respond to the highest priority 99 calls, however a number of categories are not covered by this agreement.

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Though the Trust’s emergency ambulance service will be operating during the four-hour strike, representatives are urging the public only to use the emergency ambulance service in a serious or life-threatening emergency.

Executive director of human resources Ian Brandwood said: “We, along with the trade unions, are keen to ensure that we continue to provide a safe service to our local communities and we are working together to ensure this is achieved.

“Although our focus is on ensuring attendance at the most serious and life-threatening 999 calls, we will have a reduced workforce and there is likely to be some disruption to the emergency service and our response times could be extended.”

Yorkshire Ambulance Service has also cancelled journeys with its non-emergency patient transport service for anyone due to attend routine appointments at hospital clinics.

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However, the service is operating for patients with urgent medical needs, including essential renal and oncology treatments.

Patients who are able to make their own way to appointments are advised to check with the hospital or clinic first to ensure their appointment is still going ahead.

The Trust’s interim executive director of operations Dr David Macklin said the service will be working hard to prioritise incidents according to urgent clinical need.

“We will be carrying out additional clinical assessment over the telephone using doctors and senior clinicians in our 999 emergency operations centres to prioritise those most in need,” he said.

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“Members of the public can play a big part in ensuring that those who need an emergency ambulance response get one and it’s vital that people only call 999 for an ambulance when it is a life-threatening or serious illness or injury.

“Anyone requiring advice or treatment for a non-emergency situation or minor ailment should consider options such as self-care, a visit to a local pharmacist, GP surgery or walk-in centre, or NHS 111.”

There is expected to be a period of recovery following the national industrial action and a Trust spokesman said they are committed to returning to business as usual as quickly as possible.