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
Irish pub in Altrincham closed by police for ‘offering sexual services’
A pub in Altrincham has been ordered to close after a police raid today found it was being used to ‘offer sexual services for reward’.
Officers also found that a vulnerable woman had been trafficked from outside Trafford to work at The Railway.
The traditional Irish pub on Manchester Road has been ordered to close for three months.
Two people have been arrested for crimes relating to prostitution for gain.
The news follows a raid where officers found ‘significant evidence’ that the pub’s premises were being used to offer sexual services.
Photos shared by Greater Manchester Police show a closure order being taped to The Railway’s front door.
It reads: “These premises have been issued with a closure order to prevent nuisance and disorder.
“Trafford Community Safety Partnership takes action to protect local communities from the harm caused by crime and anti-social behaviour.”
A statement from GMP says: “Officers from GMP have carried out a search warrant on the Railway Pub on Manchester Road in Altrincham accompanied by colleagues from Trafford Council’s Community Safety Team.
“Significant evidence was found on the premises indicating that the premises were being used to offer sexual services for reward and a vulnerable woman, trafficked from outside Trafford to work there was found on the premises.
“Two persons have been arrested for crimes relating to controlling prostitution for gain and today, the Magistrates issued an order on application from the council closing the premises for three months. A review of the premises license will now be requested.”
The Railway reopened as an Irish bar in 2021 following a fire in late 2020.
Consumer watchdog orders Tesco to make Clubcard prices ‘clearer’ in stores
Tesco is to start making Clubcard Prices “even clearer” in stores across the UK after a row with the leading consumer watchdog.
The supermarket‘s Clubcard loyalty scheme has more than 20 million people signed-up nationwide, making it one of the most popular of its kind on the market, by far – but over the coming weeks, members will start to see changes in the way Clubcard Prices are displayed when they’re shopping in Tesco stores.
That’s because, the retailer has been told to make the prices “even clearer” by the UK’s leading consumer watchdog.
It’s all to do with unit pricing, as Which? had said that Tesco’s decision not to display this on its Clubcard offers could, essentially, be breaking the law.
Tesco has been ordered to make Clubcard prices ‘clearer’ in stores / Credit: The Manc Group
According to BBC claims, Which? reported Tesco to the regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), in June of last year, as competition rules state that unit prices could be seen as “material information”.
This means that they’re something most people would need in order to make an informed decision about how to get the best value from what they by.
But while Tesco apparently said at the time that Which?’s claims were “ill-founded”, it looks to have changed its tune now, as the supermarket’s bosses have this week announced that unit prices will now be displayed in stores.
Consumer watchdog Which? said the supermarket could be breaking the law unless it displayed ‘unit prices’ / Credit: The Manc Group
Tesco’s UK CEO Jason Tarry said the retailer is “working harder than ever” to help make sure customers get “great value” when they shop in stores nationwide.
“We want our customers to be able to see just how well these offers stack up,” Mr Tarry said.
“If you are in store, you will now start to see that the way that we display our Clubcard Prices will not only show the total price, but also the unit price of the product (by volume or weight), to allow a direct comparison of the price per unit between the Clubcard Prices offer and the price of alternative products.”
The changes will start being introduced in all UK stores over the coming weeks / Credit: Tesco plc
Mr Tarry claims this is something Tesco’s been “planning to do for some time”, and is “pleased” the retailer is now ready to make the change.
He continued: “Over the coming weeks, these changes will appear in all our stores, as our colleagues update millions of price labels on the shelf edge, and we will also be adding these unit prices to our Clubcard Prices deals online.