Yorkshire Ambulance Service declared a critical incident due to ‘extreme pressures’ before the strike started today (Wednesday).
Ambulance workers, paramedics, call handlers and emergency care assistants have walked out today in Yorkshire and across England in a dispute over the Government’s 4% pay award.
Yesterday (Tuesday, 20 December), declared a critical incident “as a result of significant delays for patients waiting for an ambulance, together with a reduction in ambulance crew availability to respond because of delays in handing over patients at the region’s hospitals”.
“An extremely high volume of calls is currently having a significant impact on both our 999 and NHS 111 operations and delays in in our ability to respond to patients in our communities,” a Yorkshire Ambulance Service spokesperson said
“Our service is under unprecedented pressure and declaring a critical incident means we can focus our resources on those patients most in need and communicates the pressures we are under to our health system partners who can provide support.”
During today’s strike action by the GMB and Unison category 1 calls – the most life-threatening such as cardiac arrest – will be responded to.
Yesterday Nick Smith, executive director of operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “Ambulances will still be able to respond during the strike, but this will only be where there is an immediate risk to life.
“Less serious calls will not receive a response for the duration of the strike action and some patients might be asked to make their own way to hospital, where it is safe for them to so.”