HomeNewsNHS ambulance strike set to affect services in Burnham-On-Sea area today

NHS ambulance strike set to affect services in Burnham-On-Sea area today

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Paramedics and emergency care assistants are set to join picket lines outside ambulance stations across Somerset as part of a nationwide strike.

Members of the Unison union across Somerset will join the strikes that are scheduled to take place on Wednesday December 21st from noon until midnight. Call-takers, dispatchers, and support services will be unaffected.

Front-line workers across the UK are also due to go on strike on Wednesday December 28th.

Staff are calling for a pay rise in line with the current inflation, but they have also decided to go on strike to resolve issues regarding NHS staff retention and patient safety.

Every ambulance service in Somerset is due to be affected by the strike on Wednesday, including Burnham-On-Sea, Bridgwater, Ilminster, Glastonbury, Wincanton, Shepton, Taunton, Frome, Yeovil and Minehead.

Unison says it expects workers will join picket lines outside the stations except Glastonbury, Frome, and Wincanton, where Unison says it’s asked members there to join picket lines at their closest picketing station.

Unison also reports they will not be preventing staff from attending their work but want to send a ‘clear and loud message’ to the Government.

Mutually, there has been an agreement that Unison will support and encourage striking and picketing members to respond to certain categories and types of calls, especially life-threatening calls. 

Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, said: “Our nurses are incredibly dedicated to their job and it is deeply regrettable some union members are going ahead with strike action. My number one priority is to keep patients safe – I’ve been working across government and with medics outside the public sector to ensure safe staffing levels – but I do remain concerned about the risk that strikes pose to patients.”

“Nevertheless, the NHS is open and patients should continue to seek urgent medical care – and attend appointments unless they’ve been contacted by the NHS. These are challenging times, but we have accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body in full to give nurses a pay rise of at least £1,400 – on top of a 3 per cent pay rise last year when wider public sector pay was frozen.”

“Further pay increases would mean taking money away from frontline services at a time when we are tackling record waiting lists as a result of the pandemic.”

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is formed of two unions with Unison being the recognised union and GMB being the smaller union.

GMB Union members will strike for 24 hours on Wednesday December 21st – and will also strike on December 28th – but their membership in the region is smaller than Unison’s. Unison’s members will strike on December 21st, but not on December 28th.

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