London Ambulance Service is expecting to be under significant pressure on Monday (13 October) when ambulance staff take strike action in a national dispute over pay.
Patients in a life-threatening situation will still get an ambulance response but people with injuries such as minor breaks, women in routine labour, some patients with breathing difficulties or those involved in minor road traffic accidents will be given clinical advice, provided with alternative transport or told to make their own way to hospital.
Director of Operations Jason Killens said: “We are expecting a significant number of our staff to take four hours of strike action on Monday between 7am and 11am.
“We have plans in place to ensure we reach the most seriously ill and injured patients as quickly as possible. These include all clinical managers working on the front line, the use of more private ambulance crews and support from other emergency services.
“The Ministry of Defence is providing 100 military drivers during the strike action. They will support our clinical staff by driving our vehicles to an incident while our medics look after the patient.
“However, people who need an ambulance response, but are not in a life-threatening situation, should expect to wait longer or may not get an ambulance at all.”
Although the strike action is only four hours, the Service is expecting it to have an impact across the whole day. There will also be further action ‘short of strike’ during the rest of the week until Friday 17 October. This is expected to include a reduction in the number of ambulance staff available to do overtime.
Jason said: “This is a national NHS dispute over pay and is not specifically related to any issues in London.
“During the strike action we will have paramedics and doctors in our control room who will carry out an enhanced assessment of patients to make sure we target our response to those who need us most.”
“We’d like to thank Londoners for their support in helping us get to the most seriously ill and injured patients. As always we ask that they call NHS111 and only call 999 for an ambulance in a genuine emergency so we have ambulance crews free to respond to life-threatening emergencies.
·Director of Operations, Jason Killens, is available for interview regarding our plans. Please call communications on 020 7783 2116 for more details.
·Military drivers will not carry out any clinical care of patients. They will have training in so they can help move patients and are familiar with our vehicles.
•Our staff do not have to inform us if they plan to take strike action so we are unable to confirm exact numbers of ambulance crews and control room staff taking industrial action.
•Our patient transport service that takes people to hospital appointments will operate a reduced service. The only journeys to go ahead as normal will be those for high-dependency patients such as those needing dialysis or cancer care.
•For further information about the London Ambulance Service or this news release please contact the communications department on 020 7783 2286.