Public warned to drink responsibly as ambulance workers prepare to strike
The public have been urged to drink responsibly, think again about taking part in contact sports and avoid running on icy roads, as ambulance workers prepare to strike.
The series of warnings come as concern grows ahead of planned strike action on Wednesday, when the NHS is set to be hit by major disruption.
Ambulance workers, including paramedics, control room workers and technicians will walk out in Wales and England as part of an industrial action.
The most life-threatening 999 calls such as cardiac arrest will still be responded to.
The Welsh Government maintains that without support from Westminster they cannot resolve any disputes with unions.
UK Government health minister Will Quince is warning people to stay safe and to avoid “risky activity”.
He told BBC Breakfast: “Where people are planning any risky activity, I would strongly encourage them not to do so because there will be disruption on the day.”
Mr Quince did not initially set out what risky activity might entail, but he later he told BBC Radio 5 Live that taking a jog on an icy road, some contact sport or going on an “unnecessary” drive could all be seen as potentially unadvisable on strike day.
“If there is activity that people are undertaking tomorrow, whether it’s for example, contact sport or other things, they might want to want to review that,” he said.
He said that running was not “hugely risky”, but added: “Would I go running tomorrow, if it was still icy? No, I wouldn’t, because that would encompass additional risk.”
Asked if people should drive, he said: “Well, if there are unnecessary journeys, I would say don’t, no. But I’m not going to say people shouldn’t drive but of course take care.”
Downing Street declined to set out what “risky” activities might include, with the prime minister’s official spokesman telling reporters: “The public, as we saw through Covid, can be trusted to use their common sense.”
Ministers and NHS leaders said people should still call 999 for emergencies – but they are being asked to take extra steps to keep themselves and others safe.
Caroline Abrahams from Age UK said it is important older people remember emergency care will still be available.
But she added: “Our advice is that older people should always take sensible precautions to try to reduce their risk of a fall, especially in the winter when pavements can be slippery.
“However, most older people who fall do so at home so it’s just as important to identify and neutralise trip hazards, not only in response to today’s strike but more generally.”
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