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Ambulance strike cover must be sufficient, says health secretary

Unions must ensure there will be "sufficient" staffing during this week's ambulance strike to protect patients, the health secretary says.

Workers in England and Wales will walk out on Wednesday in a dispute over pay, but life-threatening emergencies will be responded to.

Unions say discussions were still taking place with ambulance trusts to draw up detailed plans for cover.

Steve Barclay said there is a lack of clarity about what is being offered.

He said it was for the unions to ensure they "meet their obligations" for emergency cover so that people in crisis get the care they need.

But Unite leader Sharon Graham, whose union is co-ordinating the ambulance strikes with Unison and GMB, said Mr Barclay will "have to carry the can if patients suffer".

The ambulance walkouts will involve paramedics as well as control room staff and support workers.

The action by the three main ambulance unions - Unison, GMB and Unite - will affect non-life threatening calls, meaning those who suffer trips, falls or other injuries may not receive treatment.

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Source: BBC News, 19 December 2022


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