Don’t get drunk: UK government urges caution amid ambulance strike


Thousands of ambulance workers in Britain began a day-long strike on Wednesday, with unions and the government taking turns accusing the blame of endangering lives.

The government advises people not to play contact sports, take unnecessary car trips or get drunk to reduce the risk of needing an ambulance, as paramedics, telephone operators and Technicians across England and Wales organized the biggest march in three decades.

Three ambulance unions went on strike for 12 or 24 hours. They have pledged to respond to life-threatening calls, but officials say they cannot guarantee everyone who needs an ambulance will receive one.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay told Sky News: “Today the system is going to be under tremendous pressure. “We’re telling the public to exercise their common sense about what they do, mindful of the pressures that are mounting on the system.”

Stephen Powis, national medical director of the National Health Service in the UK, advises people not to “blindly get drunk”.

“It’s the season of partying, before Christmas, so enjoy yourself but obviously don’t get so drunk that you end up in the hospital emergency room unnecessarily,” he said.

Healthcare workers and other public sector workers are looking for big gains in the face of decade-high inflation that stood at 10.7% in November.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government argues that double-digit increases in the public sector will push inflation even higher.

Union leaders accused the government of deliberately prolonging the strike.

“I have never seen such a departure from a leadership role from Rishi Sunak and the medical secretary,” said Sharon Graham, leader of the Unite union that represents several ambulance workers.

Visiting a hedge in central England, she said, “this government can make different choices. They can say ‘actually we choose to invest in people in[health services]. ).’ But they’re looking at different options, because they don’t want this to end. I think they want this crisis there.”

Nurses have also staged a two-day strike this month, putting pressure on a health system already strained by increased demand as pandemic restrictions are eased, in addition to staff shortages. due to burnout and Brexit, making it harder for Europeans to work in the UK

Official statistics show that ambulances in many areas are regularly stuck outside hospital emergency departments, sometimes for hours because there are no beds for patients.

“Many times, I would sign up for an ambulance and the first job of the day would be to go down to the hospital, relieve the crew on the day or night shift, then I would spend my entire shift outside the hospital. hospital,” said Harry Maskers, an emergency medical technician from Cardiff, Wales.

“I feel like unless I act, this pattern will continue,” he said.

Ambulance crews will strike again on December 28. Railway workers, passport workers and postal workers are also planning to strike over the Christmas holiday season. The UK’s biggest wave of strikes in decades is a response to a cost-of-living crisis caused by soaring food and energy prices following the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The government is calculating that public opinion will incite unions as people across the UK are faced with hospital appointments, train cancellations and winter holiday travel delays. But opinion polls show a high level of support for workers.


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