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An update on industrial action

National industrial action is set to take place from midday to midnight on Wednesday 21 December 2022. It will involve London Ambulance Service (LAS) UNISON members who staff ambulances and other response vehicles, but not the call handling teams in our 999 or 111 control centres.

Patients should only call 999 if it is a medical or mental health emergency, which is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

On the day of industrial action, there will be fewer ambulances on the roads, with the NHS prioritising those with life-threatening needs. As a result patients whose conditions are not life-threatening are unlikely to get an ambulance on industrial action days. Where the situation is not life-threatening, alternative support will be available through NHS111 online or through NHS 111, and where possible, it is advised that you arrange alternative transport to hospital.

Like health and social care services across the city, London Ambulance Service is currently extraordinarily busy, with record numbers of urgent and emergency calls coming in and high numbers of patients waiting for an ambulance.

While the industrial action will last for a 12-hour period, LAS expects the impact on services to be felt across the whole day and into the following days as it works to help as many people as possible.

In a serious medical emergency, call 999. This includes unconsciousness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe loss of blood and choking.

If it’s urgent, but it’s not a serious medical emergency, please consider other options.

You can get support for urgent medical worries by going to NHS 111 online. This should also be your first port of call if you’re unsure what to do.

Don’t forget GPs and pharmacies can also help. Speak to a pharmacist for advice on medicines or common problems like coughs, colds and rashes.

You can go to an urgent treatment centre if you need urgent medical attention, but it’s not a life-threatening situation. Conditions that can be treated at an urgent treatment centre (also known as a walk-in centre or minor injury unit) include sprains, suspected broken limbs, cuts and grazes and minor scalds and burns.

Click here to read more about urgent treatment centres. More information from the NHS on where to get medical help can be found at this link.


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