South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) workers are due to strike in January for the second time in a month. The news comes as the emergency service, which covers Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex and Kent, asked for ask for the public’s support ahead of and during the planned day of industrial action.
The strike is set to take place on Wednesday (January 11) between 12.01am and to 11.59pm. The last strike took place on December 21 2022. Last-ditch talks between the GMB Union and the health secretary Steve Barclay in a bid to halt the strike of tens of thousands of ambulance staff collapsed on Monday (January 9).
Rachel Harrison, GMB national secretary, said: "Today’s talks fell well short of anything substantial that could stop this week’s strikes. There was some engagement on pay – but not a concrete offer that could help resolve this dispute and make significant progress on the recruitment and retention crisis. The public expects the Government to treat these talks seriously – it's time they got on with it."
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SECAmb said it will continue "work closely" with the GMB Union and all staff to lesson the impact on patients during the strike as much as possible. People are advised to only call 999 in an emergency and seek help and advice alternatives if over five years old via NHS 111 or online .
Other alternatives include contacting your own GP or a pharmacist. However, people are advised to call 111 for children under five and to call 999 if it’s a life-threatening emergency - anyone not facing such an emergency is likely to wait longer for a response or be directed to alternative care.
A spokesperson for SECAmb said: "We have worked with our local GMB Union branch to agree an approach during the industrial action. This has focussed on consideration to support colleagues’ right to take action in collaboration with potential impacts on patient care.
"The priority throughout has been balancing patient safety with the right to strike. As ever, we will be working hard to respond to patients and prioritising our response to our most seriously ill and injured patients."
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