Ambulance leaders praise the public for following advice on how to use the ambulance service wisely and the professionalism of staff for keeping patients safe during the strike

Goodwill, hard work and a genuine commitment to patient safety were the key reasons why ambulance staff across the country were able to keep patients safe during the national industrial action on 21st December, says the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE).

AACE Managing Director Martin Flaherty OBE QAM said:

The strike action that took place across many parts of the UK ambulance sector on Wednesday December 21st was always going to be hugely challenging, with the potential for significant additional risk to those patients who needed our services most.

“We would like to thank the public for following the health advice provided by NHS England and Ambulance Trusts yesterday and only calling when involved in a life-threatening or serious emergency.

“We were extremely proud to see huge levels of pride and professionalism from ambulance staff both on and off the picket lines who pulled together to ensure that no patients in need of our life saving help were left without our support. Frontline staff, call handlers, clinicians, managers, and union representatives all played a key part in keeping patients safe, which is a huge testament to their combined commitment to patients and the sheer goodwill they demonstrated on the day.

“Demand levels for ambulance services remained manageable on Wednesday, which shows how the public responded positively to the messages that were sent out from the ambulance sector and the wider NHS about using the service wisely on the day. This was helped by the very positive development of the majority of hospitals releasing our ambulances and crews from handover processes at their emergency departments within the correct 15-minute timeframe. We sincerely hope this trend will continue going forward.

“It is also notable that the unions honoured pre-agreed derogations to keep patients safe, and the AACE Chair is looking to meet with national ambulance trade union leads early in the new year to discuss how we continue to work together to keep patients safe in any future periods of industrial action.

“The industrial action on Wednesday gave staff the opportunity to exercise their right to protest, which they did in a most professional way, and we thank them for this. However, while the Government and unions have so far been unable to reach an agreement that would have prevented this industrial action – and with further disruptive strike action on the horizon just a matter of days away – as ambulance leaders we continue to call for the two sides to meet and do everything in their power to find a way to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible.”

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