British ambulance workers have gone on strike for the second time in a short time. Just like last time, ambulance drivers, nurses and dispatchers are calling for higher salaries because inflation is on the rise.
Ambulances roll out in life-threatening situations, but stay in the garage for less urgent trips. Patients are then faced with the question of whether they can arrange their own transport to hospital.
According to British media, more than 20 thousand people took part in the strike. Health authorities say it is too early to determine the impact of the strike. Certainly, they thought, the hit to health care would be significant.
An emergency room worker at a hospital in central England told the BBC about an unusually quiet day. There are usually fifteen or sixteen ambulances at the door, when I was asked, there were five.
The UK inflation rate was 11.1 percent in October and 10.7 percent in November. According to unions, ambulance drivers and dispatchers earn almost less than minimum wage.
The unions want not only to increase salaries, but also to expand the capacity of the ambulance service. According to the unions, people who need an ambulance often have to wait a long time for it to get to them.
They also believe more should be invested in hospitals. Hospital ambulance staff are often told that there is no room or place for the patient yet. A nurse told the BBC: “Sometimes there are hundreds of flights waiting in the control room, while we sit in the back of an ambulance for hours waiting for a free hospital bed.”
There have also been strikes in other sectors of the British economy recently. In the public sector in particular, salaries have not kept pace with the rapidly rising cost of living. Civil servants are expected to strike on February 1.
Monday was the last meeting between the government and the unions, but that did not lead to a breakthrough.
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