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Take car in emergency during 999 strike, says cabinet minister

Patients should “make their own way to hospital” if they can do so during Wednesday’s strike by ambulance workers, a cabinet minister said yesterday, as the government warned that the industrial action would put lives at risk.

Senior government figures said that ambulance unions had still not agreed national criteria for what conditions would be considered life threatening and responded to during the strike.

Steve Barclay, the health secretary, is understood to be writing to all striking unions, including nurses, seeking discussions on patient safety.

Yesterday Oliver Dowden, the Cabinet Office minister, said people should still call 999 in an emergency but might in less serious cases have to make their own way to hospital. “We are working to ensure that if you have a serious injury, in particular a life-threatening injury, you can continue to rely on the ambulance service, and we would urge people in those circumstances to dial 999,” he told Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg on BBC1. “If it is the case that you have less serious injuries, you should be in touch with 111, and you should seek to make your way to hospital on your own if you are able to do so.”

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Source: The Times, 19 December 2022


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