Welsh ambulance chief warns Strikes Bill could inflame situation in health sector
An ambulance chief has warned against doing anything which “inflames” the situation in the health sector, amid Government efforts around the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill.
Jason Killens, chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said the NHS should not become a less attractive place for people to work.
He told Sky News: “I think the new legislation going through Parliament… we’ll clearly keep a close eye on that and as the Bill passes through its various stages of reading.
“But I think the important thing for us is to ensure that we don’t do anything which inflames the current situation or makes the NHS a less attractive place for people to work.”
He said his service has been “working very closely with the unions taking strike action to agree the best set of exemptions we can so we can continue to provide emergency services to those immediately life-threatened patients across Wales”.
Almost 1,500 paramedics, emergency care assistants, call handlers and other staff will stage a major walkout on Wednesday, picketing at 19 locations including in Wrexham, Cardiff, Pembroke Dock and Llandudno.
Commenting on the strike, Mr Killens said: “For now, our priority, and certainly today, is seeking to respond to as many patients as we can as quickly as we can, recognising that those with less serious conditions will wait longer.”
Unions have been invited to discuss a one-off cash payment to break the deadlock.
It comes as disputes over pay and working conditions are also being held by ambulance staff across England.
The Welsh Ambulance Service has warned people to only call 999 in life threatening emergencies during the industrial action.
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Carry on in this direction and you’ll need conscription to get anybody to do public service jobs