Unison ambulance workers are on strike for the second time this month, with strikers outside the South West Ambulance Station in Bournemouth once again.
They are striking for better pay in line with inflation rates, better working conditions, and for more investment into the NHS.
— SWAAHB UNISON (@SWAAHBUNISON) January 23, 2023
Unison Regional Officer for Dorset Janine Miller is wanting the Government to come back to the table to recognise what is needed.
“We are absolutely resolute on what the ask is which is the Government come back to the table and start talking to us about this years pay and start recognising the need to raise the pay for ambulance workers.”
Talking to Sky News Health Secretary Steve Barclay said last week that the unions’ demand of 10% pay rise was “not affordable”.
“I have discussions with the Treasury, as do other secretaries of state, and these things need to be balanced not just with the needs of teachers, with the education secretary, or train drivers, with the transport secretary, but also what’s affordable for your viewers in terms of their own cost of living pressures.”
NHS England boss Amanda Pritchard spoke to the BBC last week to advise that there is clearly an impact on the services from the strikes and that the workload is becoming even more challenging.
On the stress upon the NHS in the current climate, Ms Miller stated they “did not want harm to come to patients”.
“We don’t want harm to come to patients and these guys are still working on emergency call. It is not the NHS workers’ fault that the NHS is falling over, it is the lack of funding in the last 12 years.”
Patients are in the middle of these disputes between unions and government, with services operating at a restricted level. Representing the interests of patients, Chief Executive of the Patients Association Rachel Power said:
“The Patients Association believes patients should have access to safe and effective care when they need it. At the moment, every day is a challenge for very many patients as they attempt to access that care when they need it.
“The strikes do affect services, but the far greater issue for patients is the NHS crisis. Patient safety is at risk, NHS staff members are exhausted, and social care is unable to provide services people need.”