The NHS Confederation and NHS Providers have today written to the Prime Minister, outlining our concerns for patient safety ahead of tomorrow’s ambulance strikes and other planned industrial action.
As the leading membership bodies that represent NHS organisations in England, we are both talking to NHS leaders across England on a daily and now hourly basis about preparations for the strikes and the impact industrial action has had on local services so far.
With less than 24 hours to go till the ambulance strike, there is deep worry among NHS leaders about the level of harm and risk that could occur to patients as industrial action continues.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“With less than 24 hours to go to the ambulance strike, there is deep worry among NHS leaders about the level of harm and risk that could occur to patients tomorrow and beyond. This is not something NHS leaders would ever say lightly, but some now tell us that they cannot guarantee patient safety tomorrow. We’ve rarely heard such strong and urgent expressions of concern from those running our hospitals, ambulance services and other vital health services.
“The NHS is already under significant pressure with all ambulance trusts in England having declared the highest level of alert and added to that, services in the community, including GP surgeries and walk-in clinics, will almost certainly face even higher demand. We are specifically concerned about the risk of category 2 call-outs not being sufficiently staffed.
“The fear of NHS leaders is that the risk to patients is only going to get worse with future strikes planned. That is, unless the government is able to reach agreement with the trade unions to bring a swift end to the dispute. We urge the government to do all it can to bring about an agreed solution, otherwise more members of the public will suffer unnecessarily.”