Ambulance strikes: Unite members continue their 72-hour long walkout after rejecting pay offer

The second day of strikes by Unite comes after the union rejected the Welsh Government's pay offer. Credit: PA Images

A second day of ambulance worker strikes is underway across Wales as part of a continuous 72-hour long walkout.

Members from Unite began their industrial action from 00:01 on Monday and will continue as planned for three consecutive days.

It comes after more than half of all ambulance workers in Wales staged the biggest strike to date on Monday, following a long-running dispute over pay.

The offer made by the Welsh Government to health unions was a 1.5% pay increase and a one-off payment of 1.5% of a worker's salary. This is on top of 4.5% already offered workers be backdated to April 2022.

It led to some previous strikes by the GMB union being postponed during the negotiations, but both Unite and GMB have since rejected the pay offer with the Welsh Government calling it "disappointing" given it was the best it could make.

Those in a "life-threatening" situation should still seek emergency help as usual by calling 999 or attending A&E. Credit: PA Images

Ahead of the current round of strikes, patients were warned to expect "high levels of disruption" to the health service by the Welsh Ambulance Service has warned.

Jason Killens Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service explained: "Members of the public should always call us if they're in doubt about an injury they've got but what I would say they should only call us in a genuinely life-threatening emergency."

Emergency services are still available but everyone has been being urged to use the system "sensibly at this difficult time".

As part of the advice, people are being asked to stock up on prescription medicines and only call 999 (or 111) if it's necessary.

Those needing urgent care are asked to contact their own GP during normal opening hours and to call 111 if it's only absolutely necessary with a likely "lengthy wait for your call". It's expressed that the NHS 111 Wales online website can offer healthcare advice and a symptom checkers that can help.

However, if someone is seriously ill or injured and there is a risk to life, people are told to seek emergency help as usual by calling 999 or attending A&E.

The Welsh Government said it was "disappointed" the pay offer was rejected. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Patients are advised that any non-emergency patient transport for outpatient journeys that do not fall under exemptions will be cancelled. If patients cannot make their own arrangements to attend their appointment, the advice is to contact their healthcare provider to rearrange their appointment if required.

Services exempt from strike action include all renal dialysis patients, all oncology and related cancer care patients and end of life humanitarian journey (death imminent).

In a statement, a Welsh Government spokesperson said: "We are working with WAST to ensure life-saving and life-maintaining care is provided during the industrial action, patient safety is maintained and disruption is minimised.

"But it is vital that all of us to do all we can to minimise pressure on the ambulance service during the industrial action and consider carefully what activities we take part in. Anyone in immediate danger should call 999 and we encourage people to use the NHS 111 Wales website for health advice where there is no immediate threat to life, or speak to or visit a pharmacist, GP or minor injuries unit."