Six more ambulance strike dates being considered after failed talks with Barclay

  • london
  • January 12, 2023
  • Comments Off on Six more ambulance strike dates being considered after failed talks with Barclay
Six more ambulance strike dates being considered after failed talks with Barclay thumbnail

The GMB union will meet ambulance representatives on Monday to discuss up to six more strike dates, Sky News understands.

It comes after talks with Health Secretary Stephen Barclay failed to reach an agreement earlier this week.

On Wednesday, about 25,000 ambulance workers across England and Wales went on strike in a dispute with the government over pay.

Staggered walkouts by paramedics, call handlers, drivers and technicians from the Unison and GMB unions took place over a 24-hour period.

Union leader brands talks with minister a ‘complete farce’ – politics latest

NHS England warned some people would have to make their own way to hospital, while members of the armed forces and private providers were once again drafted in to help cover services – as was the case during the first strike in December.

Dr Adrian Boyle, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, warned walkouts can lead to “pent-up demand” in the days afterwards.

If you are an NHS worker and would like to share your experiences with us anonymously, please email [email protected]

More strikes are scheduled, with nurses due to walk out next Wednesday and Thursday, and another ambulance strike the week after, on 23 January.

Despite no deal being reached following the talks with Mr Barclay on Monday, the health secretary did agree to look into a suggestion to backdate next year’s NHS pay deal to this January.

However, it is understood representatives of the GMB union are set to meet again next week to discuss whether strike action by ambulance workers should escalate.

It comes as new NHS England figures show average ambulance response times in England last month were the longest on record.

In December, the average response time for ambulances dealing with the most urgent incidents – defined as calls from people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries – was 10 minutes and 57 seconds. The target is is seven minutes.

Read more

Ambulance unions ‘put people’s lives at risk’ – Shapps

NHS strikes to go ahead after talks break down

Who is striking and when?

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Why is the NHS struggling so much?

Strikes ‘in protest at unsafe care’

The figures also showed a record 54,532 people waited more than 12 hours in A&E departments last month from a decision to admit to actually being admitted.

And the proportion of patients seen within four hours in England’s A&Es fell to a record low of 65% in December.

Downing Street said the worst ambulance response times on record are “obviously unacceptable”, but called on all unions to “step back from strike actions and continue discussions – which have in recent days been constructive”.

Responding to the latest NHS England performance data, RCN Director for England, Patricia Marquis, said: “The government has had months and months to address this but has not acted. They must row back on years of underinvestment in nursing, starting with an immediate pay rise.

“Nursing is saying enough is enough and standing up for their patients. Next week’s strikes are in protest at unsafe care.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Health secretary Steve Barclay: ‘We’re engaging’

Talks ‘collaborative’, not ‘confrontational’

Mr Barclay held further talks this morning with medical unions which were described as “constructive” by Professor Philip Banfield, chair of council at the British Medical Association (BMA).

Speaking after the meeting, Professor Banfield told reporters the tone of the meeting with Mr Barclay was “not confrontational” but “collaborative”.

He said doctors feel they have been “driven” to the point of considering strike action because “no one is listening to us”.

“We’ve got about six weeks, haven’t we, to sit down and try and resolve the situation. None of our doctors want to strike, they would prefer that this was resolved before we got into that situation,” he said.

Others present at the talks were representatives of the hospital doctors’ union HCSA and the British Dental Association.

Click to subscribe to the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts

The meetings came after 14 health unions announced that they will not be submitting evidence to the NHS pay review body for the next wage round while the current industrial disputes remain unresolved.

They have called for direct pay talks with ministers.

The government says most ambulance staff have received a pay rise of at least 4%.