London Ambulance Service declares ‘business continuity incident’ | UK News
London Ambulance Service has declared a “business continuity incident” amid increasing pressures on its services.
It said its 999 and 111 services “remain extremely busy” and it would be “prioritising our sickest and most severely injured patients”.
It urged the public to call 999 only in a serious medical emergency, use 111 online if they need help fast, but it is not a life-threatening emergency and make their own way to hospital if it is safe and possible for them to do so.
Ambulance workers set to stage strikes
It comes as thousands of nurses will stage a second walkout today over pay today, while ambulance workers including paramedics, control room workers and technicians will also walk out in England and Wales tomorrow.
The government has announced controversial plans to deploy more than 1,000 civil servants and 1,200 troops to cover striking ambulance workers and Border Force staff, who are preparing to walk out for eight days from 23 December until New Year’s Eve.
Unions branded the move a “desperate measure” and warned the servicemen and women are not “sufficiently trained” to plug staffing gaps on the front line.
During the ambulance strike the military will not drive ambulances on blue lights for the most serious calls, but are expected to provide support on less serious calls.
Negotiations over which incidents should be exempt from strike action
Unions and ambulance services are still negotiating to work out which incidents should be exempt from strike action.
All category 1 calls (the most life-threatening such as cardiac arrest) will be responded to, while some ambulance trusts have agreed exemptions with unions for specific incidents within category 2 (serious conditions, such as stroke or chest pain).
It means those who suffer trips, falls or other life-threatening injuries may not receive treatment.
The London Ambulance Service said “patients whose conditions are not life-threatening are unlikely to get an ambulance on industrial action days”.
It said where the situation is not life-threatening, alternative support will be available through NHS 111 online or through NHS 111.
GMB members are set to stage a second ambulance worker walkout on 28 December.