Ambulance strikes are set to resume next week, with no sign of a conclusion to a long-running dispute over pay, patient safety and staffing levels.
Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming ambulance strikes, and how services will be affected.
When are the next ambulance strikes?
Ambulance staff represented by the GMB and Unite unions are set to walk out on Monday 6 March and Monday 20 March.
The GMB action will include paramedics, emergency care assistants and call handlers in seven of the 10 English ambulance services, along with the national Welsh service. The following services will be affected:
- South West Ambulance Service
- South East Coast Ambulance Service
- North West Ambulance Service
- South Central Ambulance Service
- North East Ambulance Service
- East Midlands Ambulance Service
- Welsh Ambulance Service
- Yorkshire Ambulance Service
The Unite action includes workers in the North East, North West, East Midlands, West Midlands and Wales.
Not all staff will strike at once. Under trade union law, emergency cover will still be provided and staff can leave the picket lines to attend.
Unison has announced that ambulance staff it represents will walk out on Wednesday 8 March, along with blood collection workers, healthcare assistants, cleaners and porters, as well as the minority of nurses who are members of the union.
Ambulance staff in the south central, East of England, West Midlands and East Midlands regions voted in favour of strike action in February. They will be joined by workers at ambulance services in London, Yorkshire, the North East, North West and South West, who have already taken action on four previous occasions.
Why are ambulance staff striking?
Ambulance workers are striking over pay, patient safety and staffing levels.
Unions say patient safety is already at risk every day in the NHS because of the Government’s failure to invest in adequate staffing levels to keep up with growing demand.
Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, told the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast that ambulance staff were “fighting for the NHS”.
“If they don’t solve the pay crisis, they can’t solve the crisis of the workforce, which means that the NHS is on its knees,” she said.
Rachel Harrison, GMB national secretary, said: “GMB’s ambulance workers are angry. In their own words they are done. Our message to the Government is clear – talk pay now.
“Ministers have made things worse by demonising the ambulance workers who provided life and limb cover on strike days – playing political games with their scaremongering.
“The only way to solve this dispute is a proper pay offer.”
The Government has previously said the unions’ pay demands are not affordable.
When are the junior doctor strikes?
Junior doctors have become the latest NHS employees to announce a strike, with the British Medical Association (BMA) confirming 72 consecutive hours of action starting on Monday 13 March and concluding on the morning of Thursday 16 March.
Up to 47,600 junior doctors will walk out of hospitals without providing emergency cover after an overwhelming majority supported industrial action. It marks a dramatic escalation in the battle between NHS staff and the Government over a better pay deal.
The strike will involve a full stoppage of work, including nights, on-call shifts and non-resident work.
In smaller-scale action, junior doctors represented by the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association have also voted to strike.
The union said 397 people out of the 531 who were entitled to vote took part in the ballot, with the action called for Wednesday 15 March, meaning it will overlap with the BMA walkout.