Ref: Industrial Action 13 March 2015
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has been advised by Trade Unions of the intention of their members to strike on Friday 13 th March. The Trust recognises and respects the right of staff to participate in Industrial Action alongside the need to engage with Trade Unions to maintain patient safety and emergency services.
Discussions with Regional representatives had resulted in an agreed protocol whereby gaps in cover for emergency services and activities would be further discussed with local Trade Union representatives.
Following productive discussions today with local Trade Union representatives where the Trust has been informed that staff will either,
• exercise their right to completely withdraw their services for full or part of the day or
• staff may report for duty and only respond to Category A (potentially life threatening) calls. (Where possible staff who wish to respond from a picket line will be facilitated.),
a joint Management and Trade Union statement has been issued to staff highlighting progress that has been made during the discussions.
This current position protects response to the most seriously ill, potentially life-threatening patients, however, it represents removal of the capacity of the ambulance service to respond to and transport to hospital urgent but not immediately life-threatening patients, which accounts for 60% of 999 calls.
In relation to non-emergency work, NIAS has identified areas of work which would still be considered clinically critical including palliative care patients, oncology patients, renal patients and paediatric patients, towards which PCS resources will be directed as appropriate. The Trust must now cancel all other PCS activity on the day of the strike and patients will be informed accordingly.
Ambulance control staff are also involved in the strike action and this may impact on the speed at which calls to the Control centre are answered.
NIAS and Trade Unions continue to engage in a process to identify measures to address gaps in cover for emergency services and will reconvene on Thursday in an effort to progress these matters.