Ambulance services are preparing for a “hangover” after Wednesday’s strike, amid fears sick patients who would have ordinarily phoned an ambulance held off because of the walk out.
The number of 999 calls plummeted in regions hit by the industrial action, with the Health Service Journal reporting that the West Midlands Ambulance Service had seen a 70 per cent drop in its calls.
Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of NHS Confederation, warned that “we won’t fully know the consequences” of the strike for a few days after 25,000 staff walked out in a dispute over pay at 10 of the 11 trusts in England and Wales.
“There are people out there who didn’t call emergency services and will need that support today. We are expecting more intense demand today,” he told BBC Radio 4.
“There was more demand in primary care, with more people calling 111 and more people being referred for example to out of hospital services.”
He added: “We coped as best we could yesterday, but it’s incredibly important to recognise that we can’t go on copying with industrial action in the NHS… There are all sorts of knock on effects.
“We will repeat the call, which is to trade unions and to the Government to step away from rhetoric and step towards negotiation. We can’t drift into more and more industrial action.”
Jason Killens, the head of the Wales Ambulance Service, also warned that there will “certainly be some hangover from the industrial action”.
“It’s possible that patients in our communities that would have ordinarily called us yesterday didn’t because they saw the advice and the fact that the strikes were taking place, so they may well do that today,” he said.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that we got away with it… There were patients that waited longer than we would like, there were some that gotAmbulance services are preparing for a "hangover" after Wednesday's strike, amid fears sick patients who would have ordinarily phoned an ambulance held off because of the walk out. "There are people out there who didn't call emergency services and will need that support today. Jason Killens, the head of the Wales Ambulance Service, also warned that there will "certainly be some hangover from the industrial action".