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HomeLatest NewsLocal Ambulance worker claims NHS Crisis is at breaking point

Local Ambulance worker claims NHS Crisis is at breaking point

AS CHELTENHAM and the rest of the country braces itself for another bout of strikes, one local paramedic has made an impassioned plea to save the NHS.
The South West Ambulance Service veteran, who asked not to be named, says the service is “running on fumes and crumbling around us”, and calls on the public to recognise the desperate nature of the situation and support the strikes.
“We have been crying out for change for over two years now and things have only got worse on the front line,” he told The Post.
“I didn’t choose to become a paramedic for the money, but with the nature of the work we do, it’s hard to make ends meet. My colleagues, who are ambulance technicians and emergency care assistants, are even worse off with salaries so low they can only survive by doing regular overtime.
“We are the ones watching our patients suffer for hours on stretchers whilst stuck outside A & E; we are the ones making apologies again and again as we arrive hours late to render assistance; we are the ones handing patients over knowing that their chances of recovery are that much less due to lack of timely care.
“It’s heart-breaking and utterly demoralising. When the Government refuses to act and instead indulges in distraction, denial and blame, not to mention forcing through draconian anti-strike legislation, we as NHS workers have no choice but to act ourselves to save the NHS.
“During the pandemic they were out on their doorsteps for the news cameras, clapping for the NHS.”
“Now it’s come to the crunch, those same politicians are lining up to stab us in the back.

These ministers applaud our work, but when the hat gets passed round, instead of putting money in it, they try to steal it, and run off and give it to one of their rich pals. It’s sickening hypocrisy, and they can’t be allowed to get away with it any longer.
“We either have to make a stand or stand back and watch the NHS fail and be sold off once and for all. I don’t believe that is what the British public want to see happen, so we will fight on.”

“During the pandemic they were out on their doorsteps for the news cameras, clapping for the NHS.”

The GMB Union, representing South West Ambulance and seven other ambulance services, has issued a statement saying that despite government claims of constructive pay negotiations, they have not heard from the government on the issue since January 9th, 2023. The union plans to continue with the upcoming strikes, scheduled for February 6th and 20th, and March 6th and 20th. UNISON, representing other ambulance services, is also planning further walkouts today on February 10th.

The paramedic spoke out against the government’s accusations that the strikers are putting lives at risk during the industrial action.

“We responded from picket lines across the South West and reported for our shifts fully prepared to do so,” he said. “The reality is that lives are already at risk every day due to years of neglect of NHS services.
“The situation has only worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic and the long-standing “REAP Black” escalation level – emergency ‘worst-case scenario’ protocols devised to manage short periods of extreme pressure – has now lasted for 598 consecutive days. The public has a right to expect and deserve quality health care. It’s time for the government to step up and support our health workers. Join us in supporting the NHS fight for a better future.”

SWAST recently announced plans for the emergency response REAP condition to step down from Black to the next highest level of Red but admitted: “Our position remains fragile.”

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