EMAS ambulance workers strikes on two days next week – see info for public
From Monday 6 February 2023 to Tuesday 7 February 2023, a labor dispute is planned at EMAS involving more than one union.
Ben Holdaway, Director of Operations at EMAS said:
“The past days of industrial action at EMAS have been immensely challenging and we expect the same again on Monday and Tuesday.
“We continue to work closely with union colleagues and NHS and blue light service providers across the region to do everything we can to minimize the impact on patient safety. However, we anticipate that fewer ambulances will be available during the campaign and therefore our response to our patients that day will inevitably be much slower.
“Heading into the weekend the NHS will remain open and people are being asked not to keep their health conditions on hold or carry on if they are feeling unwell or hurt – get early advice from your local pharmacist, NHS111 Online, about your GP or urgent treatment advise center; and if you have a long-term condition, make sure you continue to take your routine medications as recommended by your GP.
“During the industrial action, we will continue to carefully review and prioritize the deployment of an ambulance to those who need it most.
“It is important that the public use the services wisely and make their own way to a treatment center or hospital when it is safe to do so. This allows us to dispatch our ambulances with life-saving equipment and doctors on board to people who really need them.”
messages to the public
- It’s important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to call in, especially in emergencies and life-threatening cases — when someone is seriously ill, injured, or their life is in danger.
- General practitioner services are not affected by this strike action. Please continue to keep your GP appointments unless contacted and otherwise instructed.
- If you need medical help or advice go to NHS 111 online, unless it’s a life-threatening emergency (e.g. cardiac arrest) when you should call 999 anyway.
- Ambulances can still intervene in these situations, but they can only do so when there is an imminent threat to life.
- 999 call attendants can advise callers if it is safe for the patient (with assistance from relatives or friends if necessary) to make their own way to a treatment center or hospital.
- Fewer ambulances will be on the streets during the industrial action, with the NHS prioritizing those with life-threatening needs. Therefore, patients whose condition is not life-threatening are unlikely to get an ambulance on strike days.
- On strike days, NHS 111 call centers will also be under-staffed, with longer call response times expected across the system. Anyone with non-urgent care needs are advised to seek help from NHS 111 online: https://111.nhs.uk/
Future strike dates
Unions GMB, Unite and RCN have confirmed that they intend to take industrial action on the following dates this year:
- Monday, February 6, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 7.
- Monday, February 20, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 21.
- Monday, March 6, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., Tuesday, March 7.
- Monday, March 20, 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 21.
- Monday 6 February – 00:01 and ends at 23:59.
- Monday 20 February – 00:01 and ends at 23:59.
- Monday 6 March – 00:01 and ends at 23:59.
- Monday 20 March – 00:01 and ends at 23:59.
- Monday 6th February – 08.00 a.m. to 08.00 p.m.
- Tuesday, February 7th – 08:00 a.m. to 08:00 p.m.
The current strike mandate covers a period of six months, so additional dates may be announced in due course.
The unions received enough votes to have a strike mandate and to take measures that are close to a strike in response to the nationwide wage dispute with the government. The Unison branch at EMAS is currently holding a new membership election (voting closes on February 16, 2023).
NHS salary levels are agreed at national rather than local level and are therefore negotiated nationally for NHS staff.
Many employees at EMAS are union members. We have a workforce of over 4,000 people, including colleagues from all parts of our organisation, e.g. B. Front line ambulance teams, 999 control rooms, non-emergency patient transport services and support services.
GMB union members taking this action may affect up to 50% of the workforce; RCN has less than 100 members in EMAS and Unite has less than 15 members.
While we fully recognize and respect an individual’s legal right to participate in industrial action, our underlying duties and responsibilities are to ensure that the safety, well-being, dignity or respect of patients or employees is not jeopardized by industrial action.
Our EMAS operational teams have developed contingency plans to maximize the number of ambulances and volunteers we have available to respond to patients, as well as clinical staff capable of conducting remote clinical assessments.
We fully respect the right of NHS workers to take legal and peaceful industrial action, but call on national employers’ representatives and fellow unionists to engage proactively and seek a negotiated settlement to the dispute as soon as possible.
Constructive talks between unions and EMAS leaders have now concluded and mutually acceptable derogations (also called exemptions) have been agreed.
On the day of the strike, union members assigned to work at EMAS must personally decide whether to go to work normally or participate in industrial action – either by exercising their right to strike or by choosing to work under exceptions agreed with their union.
For our A&E ambulance service, these exceptions include either only responding to Category 1 calls (imminently life threatening) or attending Category 1 calls and the most serious Category 2 calls such as chest pain, FAST positive stroke, gynecological emergencies involving the mother or baby are at risk, traffic accidents in which a patient is trapped and sick children under the age of five.
For staff working on our non-emergency patient transport service in Derbyshire and Northamptonshire, these exceptions only include the care of patients traveling for kidney or oncology treatment, or end-of-life patients returning home or traveling to a hospice.
For Unite and GMB members working in our Emergency Operations Centers (EOC – Control Rooms), the exceptions include being available to answer 999 calls only; and for our Clinical Assessment Team (CAT) in our control room, these exceptions mean they only support patients on the CAT stack and do no other duties.
frequently asked Questions
Q: What is an emergency and will my 999 call be answered?
A: Patients should only call 999 if their life is in danger, e.g. cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness or severe bleeding, or if they are seriously ill or injured, e.g. B. Stroke or a serious traumatic injury. Ambulances are dispatched when clinically appropriate.
Q: If the ambulance takes a long time to arrive, what should I do?
A: It will likely take longer than normal to get to patients on the day of the strike due to fewer ambulances being available.
Our 999 Operations Centers will carefully assess and prioritize the rescue effort for those who need it most, and this can only be where life is at risk.
You may be asked to take yourself to a hospital or medical treatment center if it is safe to do so.
If you are waiting for an ambulance, please do not call 999 again to ask for an updated estimated time of arrival for an ambulance.
You should only call 999 again if you want to cancel the ambulance because you are on your way to the hospital or if the patient’s condition has significantly deteriorated.
Q: Will my non-emergency patient transport be affected?
A: Some of our Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services (PTS) staff are members of the GMB union and may therefore take part in industrial action on the scheduled strike day. Please note that EMAS provides PTS in Northamptonshire and Derbyshire only.
Our PTS planning teams have prepared to minimize disruption to our patients during this time of industrial action.
Patients should expect their scheduled routine transport to arrive and attend their appointments as usual unless they are contacted directly by the hospital or EMS to advise you of a cancellation.
During this period of industrial action, transportation to chemotherapy and kidney dialysis appointments and hospital discharges will be prioritized to ensure patients continue to receive the life-saving treatments they need.
Patients with further questions can contact our NEPTS booking telephone number on 0300 300 34 34.
Q: Do I have to cancel my transport and hospital appointment for the industrial action days?
On a. Patients should expect their booked transport to arrive and attend their appointments as usual unless they are contacted directly by the hospital or ambulance to inform you of a cancellation.
Q: If staff are already on duty treating a patient when the industrial action begins, do they just stop working?
A: When providing patient services, staff must exit the patient call they are on before being allowed to resign; this includes call centers as well as direct patient care.
Q: Are you backed by the military?
A: There are currently no plans for military support.
Q: Where are the pickets held?
A: Picketing is likely to take place at ambulance stations in the East Midlands where union members taking part in industrial action are based.
Q: Can members of the public join the pickets?
A: No – not as part of the official picket line.
However, they could be present and exercising their human right to protest even though they are not part of the official picket line.
The picket code of conduct states: “Anyone wishing to show support for those who are fighting should stay away from the picket line so as not to create the risk of rioters or other criminals on that picket line.”
Q: Can EMAS pay its employees more money and end the strikes?
On a. NHS Agenda for Change salary levels are agreed at national rather than local level and are therefore nationally negotiated for NHS staff.