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Industrial Action 18 January 2024

17th January 2024

On Thursday 18 January 2024 at 00:01, as part of wider HSCNI action, ambulance trade unions in NI will commence 24hours industrial action.

NIAS and Trade Union representatives have engaged to identify services and roles that will be exempt from strike action, to ensure that we can continue to respond to the most clinically urgent patients, thereby balancing the right to strike with patient safety.

NIAS anticipates that there will be challenges throughout the period of the strike and have planned to maintain the safety of those patients whose need is greatest. The impact of the action will be felt most on those patients calling NIAS whose need is less clinically urgent. We anticipate that there will be lengthy delays in responding to these categories of calls.

To ensure that we maintain the levels of cover required to respond to the most urgent calls, we would ask the public to call us only in life-threatening emergencies such as cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding and others.

We would also ask that, having placed a 999 call, the public should refrain from calling back to check on the arrival time of the ambulance. The ambulance will arrive at the earliest opportunity and calling back repeatedly can block lines into the Control centre for other emergencies.NIAS will keep you advised via a text messaging service and you should only call back if the patient’s condition has worsened, or you wish to cancel the ambulance

We stress that ambulances will still be available. However, they will be limited and we will prioritise patients with life-threatening injuries or illnesses.

Callers should not hesitate to call 999 in the case of serious illness or injury, but other callers should consider other options including self-care, seeking GP or Pharmacy advice or presenting themselves to Emergency Departments, if clinically safe to do so..

This period of industrial action will impact all services provided by NIAS including Non-Emergency Transport, Emergency and non-Emergency Control Centres as well as Administration and Support Services.

We will continue to work with Trade Union colleagues to ensure that “life and limb” cover is provided in the quickest possible time.

We appreciate the support that has always been provided, to our staff, by our local communities and are sure that this understanding will continue throughout the period of Industrial Action and the days that follow as we return to normal service level.

We would also take this opportunity to thank our staff for their ongoing commitment to providing the highest levels of clinical care to those who have need of our services and also our Trade Union colleagues who have engaged constructively with us to ensure the most vital services are retained during this period of Industrial Action.

If you need an emergency response, you should not hesitate in calling 999 and your call will be dealt with appropriately.

NIAS respects the right of our staff who are union members to participate in industrial action. This action is being taken in relation to the national issues and is a matter for the Government and Trade Unions.