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UK: After nurses, ambulance workers go on strike over pay

'My message to the public is to take extra care tomorrow'

BRITAIN-STRIKES/AMBULANCES An ambulance is driven, on the day of a planned strike, amid a dispute with the government over pay, outside NHS London Ambulance Service, in London, Britain December 21, 2022 | Reuters

Ambulance workers in England and Wales will go on strike on Wednesday over pay, increasing the strain on NHS, the state-funded health service a day after nurses walked out. The actions will put patients at risk, according to hospital bosses. 

The government said the "deeply regrettable" strike would result in fewer ambulances on the road, Reuters reported. Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said those with life-threatening needs would be prioritised. 

"My message to the public is to take extra care tomorrow and plan your activity accordingly," Barclay said. "You may also want to check up on more vulnerable friends, family and neighbours," he added. Barclay also suggested that people use the services wisely and only call 999 in a life-threatening emergency.

According to the GMB Union, pay for the health service has fallen 17 per cent since 2010. on the other hand, demand for ambulances has risen by 77 per cent in the same period. 

"We have tried everything to raise pay, the issue that is causing this dispute, but the government will not listen and will not talk," Rachel Harrison, the union's national secretary said. She also said the government could solve the dispute at any time. The government, in the meantime, has put the army on standby to help drive any emergency vehicles.

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