Unison calls off 24-hour NHS strike action

Update at 615pm: Since this story has been first published, Unison has called off the strike action. Unison says it has not ruled out further strike action.

National Health Service workers in Lincoln will join industrial 24-hour strike action on Thursday, January 29 as part of an ongoing pay dispute.

The Trade Unions’ strike will affect services provided by the East Midlands Ambulance Service.

EMAS Director of Operations, Richard Henderson, said: “If national strike action goes ahead it will be much longer in duration than the two previous occasions (October and November 2014).

“Our service is incredibly busy receiving on average a new 999 call every 45 seconds. Strike action is proposed to take place over 24-hours on Thursday 29 January, and will have a disruptive impact on the services we provide.

“We continue to work closely with trade union colleagues at GMB and Unison so that human life is not endangered. However, during strike action we will only be able to send an ambulance to the most seriously ill and injured and some people will unfortunately experience a delayed response.

“To help us help those in most need, the public are advised to plan ahead of Thursday.”

The advice given by the East Midlands Ambulance Service is:

  • Visit your GP or local pharmacy for professional medical advice if you feel unwell now. This will allow you to treat your condition and reduce the risk of you needing urgent medical help later.
  • If you have a have a long-term or chronic condition, make sure you continue to take your regular medication to help keep on top of your illness.
  • Make sure you have collected your regular prescription from the GP or that you have been to or arranged for someone to visit the pharmacist to collect.
  • Think ahead – if you or a loved one feel unwell on Thursday, January 29 which NHS services are near you and how can you access them? Consider the transport you can use to get there, e.g. friends, family or taxi.
  • If you are in the late stages of pregnancy, make arrangements with friends or family so that they can take you to hospital should you go into labour.
  • The weather is set to get much colder again with bitter winds and snow in some parts of the UK predicted for mid-week. ‘Falls’ is the top problem reported to EMAS via 999 – consider how you can help vulnerable people, particularly children, older people or people with long-term conditions to help reduce the risk of them falling or needing emergency treatment and care.
  • If a community health team provides you with continued care keep their contact numbers to hand so you can access them if you need urgent help.

Richard Henderson added: “The last industrial action took place over four-hours and saw approximately 50% of our workforce on duty take some form of strike action.

‘This time the action is for 24-hours and it will be a real challenge for us to get to people in an emergency. People should call 999 for life-threatening emergencies which include cardiac arrest, chest pain, unconscious, severe breathing problems, substantial bleeds or stroke.

“Whilst we work to make every attempt to get to people as quickly as possible, unfortunately we predict there will be delays experienced by some people, including those with broken bones, or those who have fallen and cannot get back up, and some people in road traffic collisions where their life is not at immediate risk.

“I encourage people to plan ahead and be sensible about their activities on Wednesday evening and throughout Thursday. Be prepared to respond to a medical need that you or a loved one may have.

“This industrial action is in response to a national issue, however there will be NHS services available to help support people with minor illness or injury, including NHS111 (free telephone number where you can get advice and be directed to the most appropriate service local to you), GPs, local pharmacy or walk-in, urgent care and minor injury centres.”