Update on industrial action at EMAS on 20 and 21 February 2023

Update on industrial action at EMAS on 20 and 21 February 2023

A member of military personnel sits beside an EMAS Clinical Tutor in one of our Urgent Care Ambulance vehicles.
Lance Bombardier Rokotubuna, from the Motor Transport department, 19 Regiment Royal Artillery, based in Larkhill, and Kelly Botham, EMAS Clinical Tutor.

A period of industrial action by several trade unions took place at EMAS on Monday and Tuesday this week (20 and 21 February).

Due to the sustained high demand on our service during the last period of industrial action, military personnel crewed up with some of our colleagues in our Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire and Rutland divisions on Monday and overnight into Tuesday morning. During this time, they worked on Urgent Care vehicles and responded to 54 lower acuity calls.

These military personnel included three Royal Marines from Plymouth and Taunton, four Army from Larkhill and three RAF from Peterborough and Brize Norton.

Despite this additional support, this period of industrial action was immensely challenging, particularly as demand on our service continues to rise with each day of industrial action.

We saw an additional 300 emergency calls from the public compared to the last strike day (on 6 February 2023), but we were actually only able to respond to fewer patients in the community due to the reduced number of ambulance crews available. Colleagues in our control rooms continued to support less seriously unwell patients with alternative pathways where appropriate. However, the industrial action being taken is having an impact on our service and our patients.

Ben Holdaway, EMAS Director of Operations, said: “I would like to take this opportunity thank everyone who continues to access NHS services wisely to enable us to focus on responding to patients who need us most.

“It is vitally important that each and every one of us continues to seek the most appropriate service for their healthcare needs – whether that is through your pharmacy, your local GP, urgent treatment centre or using NHS 111 online.

“This allows us to continue to send our limited number of available ambulances to those patients whose lives are at immediate risk - eg cardiac arrest, unconscious or catastrophic bleed, or if seriously ill or injured eg stoke or a serious traumatic injury.

“We continue to work closely with trade union colleagues to keep patients safe in any periods of industrial action and continue to fully respect the right of NHS staff to take lawful and peaceful action. However, we again urge national employer representatives and trade union colleagues to proactively engage and reach a negotiated settlement to the dispute as quickly as possible.”