North East Ambulance Service strike day plea for patients to think before calling 999

Picket line
Pickets are expected at ambulance stations across the region on Monday Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The North East Ambulance Service has issued a renewed plea for people to use it 'wisely' as workers from two unions prepare to stage strike action.

The trust says it expects the walkout on Monday 20 February to have a 'significant impact' on services meaning it will prioritise patients in life-threatening situations.

The service is urging people facing true emergencies still to dial 999.

NEAS Head of Operations North Claire Jobling told us: "If you do find yourself in a life threatening situation where you need our 999 services, then please call.

She added: "There will be resources available to respond to you, however, they will be impacted by the industrial action so think wisely. "

The advice to people with less serious conditions us to use alternative services such as urgent treatment centres, the GP or pharmacy.

Who is striking?

At the North East Ambulance Service:

  • Members of the GMB union are due to take 24 hours of action from 6am on Monday 20 February

  • Members of the Unite union are expected to strike from midnight to midnight

At the Yorkshire Ambulance Service:

  • GMB members are due to take action from 6am - 12 noon and 6pm - midnight on Monday 20 February

Announcing the latest action last month, the GMB's General Secretary Rachel Harrison said: “In the face of government inaction, we are left with no choice but industrial action.

She added: "GMB ambulance workers are determined, they’re not going to back down.

“It’s up for this Government to get serious on pay."

For unions, the pay settlement for the current 12 months - up to April - is at the core of the dispute.

The government says it will discuss pay for the coming financial year, which begins in April.

Earlier this month, the Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: "I have held constructive talks with the trade unions on pay and affordability and continue to urge them to call off the strikes.

Mr Barclay said: "It is time for the trade unions to look forward and engage in a constructive dialogue about the Pay Review Body Process for the coming year.”

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