Ambulance staff set to walk out over pay

Pictured below Brian Strutton of the GMB Union
Pictured below Brian Strutton of the GMB Union

Fylde coast ambulance staff and health workers are set to walk out next Monday in a pay dispute along with colleagues from across the country.

Three unions - GMB, Unite, and Unison - have announced the plans, which will take effect between 7am and 11am on Monday, October 13.

Pictured Brian Strutton of the GMB Union

Pictured Brian Strutton of the GMB Union

I comes after Ministers decided to give only NHS staff who don’t receive automatic rises a one per cent pay increase, going against the recommendations of an independent pay review board.

Brian Strutton, the GMB national secretary for public services, said: “Nobody in the NHS wants to go on strike, but the anger and frustration of the workforce with the cavalier treatment by government and employers towards them has spilled over into industrial unrest.

“GMB and the other trade unions on the staff side hope this programme of action will get some movement in this deadlock and we will plan further periods of action through the autumn and winter if it does not.”

Derek Cartwright, director of operations at North West Ambulance Service, said: “We respect the right for our staff to take industrial action and we know that the decision will not have been an easy for them or the unions to take.

“Our planning aims to ensure there is as little impact on patient care as possible and for this reason, we have maintained a healthy and lengthy dialogue with our trade union representatives.

“Everyone’s priority is to make sure that those who need an emergency ambulance response get one and that has been the focus on all of our discussions.

“The Trust, our workforce and the unions are fully aware of the duty of care we have to the north west population and as such, are in the process of agreeing some exemptions for that four hour period.

“However, even with exemptions, with a reduced workforce, there is likely to be some disruption to the 999 service and delays in reaching patients.”

Patients who have out-patient appointments and have booked transport with the Trust should contact their clinic and check that their appointment is still going ahead.

Have your say on how to improve services

Health chiefs are set to hold further consultation with patients about how services can be improved.

NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is set to hold more of its Listening Cafés throughout this month, which are designed to allow members of the public their chance to say what could be improved.

Jennifer Aldridge, chief nursing officer at NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG and executive lead for patient engagement, said: “Our Listening Cafés are an important part of what the CCG does. In taking the time to talk to our residents we understand what is important to them and this helps us to develop high quality services.”

They will be held on Thursday, October 16, from 2pm to 4pm at Knott End Library; Friday, October 17, from 10am to noon, at Staining Village Hall; and on Monday, October 20, from 2pm to 4pm, at Freckleton Library. For details about the drop-in sessions call (01253) 956400 or enquiries@fyldeandwyreccg.nhs.uk