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When are the next NHS ambulance strikes?

Ambulance staff members, including paramedics, drivers and operators, will walk out for 24 hours (PA Wire)
Ambulance staff members, including paramedics, drivers and operators, will walk out for 24 hours (PA Wire)

Thousands of ambulance workers are going on strike on Monday (February 20) in their ongoing dispute over pay and staffing.

It follows a number of history-making strike dates in January, and will involve more than 11,000 members of the GMB union in England and Wales, along with some members of the Unite union.

The number of health workers taking industrial action continues to grow, with junior doctors set to go on strike next month.

Here’s what you need to know about the latest round of ambulance strikes.

When are the ambulance strikes?

On Monday more than 11,000 ambulance staff members, including paramedics, drivers and operators, will walk out for 24 hours.

Unions, including GMB, are fighting for a 17 per cent pay rise to match current rates of inflation and to tackle the cost of living crisis.

Its members voted against the 4 per cent pay rise offered by the government, calling it “another massive real terms pay cut”.

Rachel Harrison, GMB national secretary, said: “Ambulance workers across England and Wales will strike today – entirely because this Government is tin-eared.

“It’s been over a month since the Government engaged in any meaningful dialogue. They are missing in action and refuse to talk pay.

“There’s a recruitment crisis in the NHS. Solving the issue of pay is vital if we’re going to stem the tide of dedicated healthcare workers leaving the profession. The public back ambulance workers. The Government must listen to them and talk pay now.”

Two more strike dates have been confirmed on March 6 and March 20.

What services will be affected?

The strike will affect services across England and Wales, but workers will still attend to life-threatening or critically ill emergencies.

Unions have agreed that all category 1 and some extreme category 2 callouts will be responded to, which includes extreme allergic reactions, cardiac arrest and strokes.

Yet the public has been told to call 999 only in such extreme situations, as it’s likely the strikes will cause service delays.

The head of the London Ambulance Service, Daniel Elkeles, said: “It is still really, really busy in the NHS and hospitals are really, really full so I would just ask the public to be really helpful again ... and only phone us if they have a life and limb-threatening emergency.

“And if they have another urgent healthcare need please use 111 either on the phone or online.”

What’s the latest in ambulance pay negotiations?

Following the strikes in December, unions and Health Secretary Steve Barclay met on January 9 where a pay rise of 4.75 per cent was offered.

Striking workers voted with more than a 99 per cent majority that this was not enough.

Since then, progress has come to a halt, leading to the announcement of fresh strike dates.