The public is being urged to only call 999 for “life-threatening emergencies” as ambulance strikes begin across the North West today.
Amid what can only be described as continuing unrest in many industries and sectors of the economy, and just less than a week after the largest nursing strike in NHS history began, tens of thousands of ambulance workers who are members of the GMB Union, Unite, and Unison are all taking part in industrial action and staging a mass walk-out today.
The start of the industrial action comes after North West ambulance workers were among the 15,000 to vote on what is being described as the “biggest strike in 30 years” back in October – with GMB Union saying its members were angry over the government’s imposed 4% pay award, which it said was “another massive real terms pay cut”.
The union said that when it comes to taking strike action, ambulance workers “don’t do this lightly” – but they are “desperate”.
The NWAS has issued a statement ahead of the industrial action to explain what the public can expect of its services on strike days, and is also urging people not to call 999 unless it’s in the case of “life-threatening emergencies”.
Ambulances will still be available to respond on strike days, the NWAS said, but they will be “prioritised” for life-threatening injuries and illnesses.
Typical emergencies the NWAS says services would be prioritised for include cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness, fits that aren’t stopping, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding, allergic reactions, and serious head injuries.
If hospital treatment is required, the NWAS said patients should also consider taking alternative transport – such as a taxi, or getting a lift from family or friends.
Equally, they should use 111.nhs.uk their GP or local pharmacy for help with non-urgent health concerns.
“We have tried and tested plans to manage any disruption, however, it’s important to understand there will be an impact on the public,” explained Ged Blezard – Director of Operations at the NWAS.
“We want you to continue to ring 999 if you are in a life-threatening situation.
“However, we are advising patients, that they should consider other forms of transport if they still need to go to a hospital.
“We are maximising our own resources, using private providers and military support where appropriate and working closely with our Trade Unions to provide cover for the most serious emergencies, and we are also working with our healthcare partners to maintain patient safety during these periods of industrial action.”
Mr Blezzard also warned people against repeatedly calling on 999 to check for ambulance updates.
He continued: “If you have already called 999 to request an ambulance, please only call back if your condition has worsened or to cancel the ambulance, as repeatedly calling 999 can block phone lines for other emergencies.
“If you need urgent care, use the symptom checker at NHS 111 online, which will direct you to the most appropriate support.”
Featured Image – NWAS
‘Sad news’ – the world’s only Vagina Museum has been forced to close
There’s a museum for just about everything these days (we all remember trips to the Stockport Hat Works museum) – but the world’s only space dedicated to vaginas has been forced to close again.
The world-first Vagina Museum announced this week that it’s had to vacate its premises and has once again been left ‘homeless’.
The museum, which welcomed 40,000 visitors in the 10 months it was open, was founded to raise awareness of the gynaecological anatomy and health, erase stigma, and act as a forum for feminism.
Inside, visitors could browse everything from educational materials to art pieces inspired by vaginas and vulvas – including giant tampons decorated in red sequins.
The Vagina Museum said it was ‘disappointed’ that it has been asked to leave its space, adding that it will continue to operate digitally until it finds a new base.
They wrote in a heartfelt statement on social media that they were ‘incredibly proud’ of the museum’s achievements.
Fans of the space queued down the street for its final few days in Bethnal Green, before its eventual closure on Wednesday 1 February.
Their statement said: “Sad news. We’ve received notice to vacate our premises at Bethnal Green by the end of this week. As a property guardianship, we’ve always been aware that we may be asked to leave with very short notice. We’re disappointed that it has come so soon.
“@Enter_theVenue the creative hub with whom we share our space, have also been asked to leave. The Vagina Museum will continue to operate in the digital world as we search for a new home.”
The message continued: “We’re sad about this development, but incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished in the ten months we’ve been at our Bethnal Green premises. We’ve welcomed more than 40,000 visitors through our doors, and received so much love and positive feedback.
“In our time at Bethnal Green, we’ve once again demonstrated just how much the world needs and wants a Vagina Museum.
“Times are, once again, uncertain for us, but we’ve been through this before and risen stronger than ever. With a community like you supporting us, we know we can get through this too.
“We’re actively searching for a new home, and if you know of any vacant spaces (or have one yourself!) please don’t hesitate to reach out. In our home in Bethnal Green, we and ENTER demonstrated that we can transform an empty, unused building into a thriving heart of a community.
“If you don’t have a building, you can still help! Please consider making a donation; a donation of any size makes a huge difference and will help us to weather this storm, just as we’ve weathered storms before.”
The Vagina Museum concluded its thread with: “We’ve made it through a pandemic and a period of temporary homelessness before. With you, together, we can make it through this too.”
Gary Neville addresses ‘clumsy like’ on Tweet about Mason Greenwood ￼
Gary Neville has said that his liking of a tweet about Mason Greenwood has been ‘misinterpreted’.
The former Manchester United legend and football pundit set off a Twitter storm last night after he ‘liked’ two tweets by Nazir Afzal, and briefly retweeted one.
The tweets in question said that Greenwood was an ‘innocent man’ and added that ‘you are innocent until PROVEN guilty’.
Mason Greenwood had all criminal charges against him dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
He had faced allegations of rape, controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault, all against the same woman.
The CPS said that Greenwood case had been stopped because of ‘the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light’, adding that there was no longer a ‘realistic prospect of conviction’.
Several people noticed that Neville had liked a tweet about Greenwood’s ‘innocence’ and quickly challenged him on it.
One person shared a screenshot and wrote: “You have a massive platform and you’re liking bulls**t like this just because the monster plays for a team you support. you’re disgusting @GNev2.”
He posted: “I liked a tweet relating to the Mason Greenwood news this afternoon from Nazir Afzal. ( the former director of public prosecutions ).
“This like is being misinterpreted. It was a clumsy like as I obviously condemn any violence against women.”
Greenwood issued a short statement yesterday, writing: “I am relieved that this matter is now over and I would like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for their support. There will be no further comment at this time.”
Featured image: Instagram, @garyneville2 / publicity picture