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Fury as minister says strikers choosing to harm

Ambulance unions have reacted with anger after the health secretary said they had "taken a conscious choice to inflict harm on patients".

Steve Barclay said unions had refused to work with the government at a national level on how they would cover emergency calls during strike action.

Unison said it was "utterly shocked" by the comments, while the GMB union said they were "insulting".

Paramedics are among those striking in England and Wales on Wednesday.

Control room staff and support workers who are members of the Unison, GMB and Unite unions are also involved.

NHS bosses are warning patient safety cannot be guaranteed during the action, although unions say life-threatening callouts will still be responded to by an ambulance.

They also argue patients are already being put at risk due to waiting times and the pressure on the health service, made worse by staff shortages.

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Source: BBC News, 21 December 2022


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