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
Holly Willoughby delivers honest and emotional statement addressing Phillip Schofield scandal on This Morning return
Holly Willoughby has officially addressed the ongoing Phillip Schofield scandal on her return to This Morning on Monday.
Making her first appearance since the pair both dropped off the show following Schofield’s admission that he had a relationship with a younger man who worked on the show, his former co-presenter jumped straight into the issue at the top of the show.
“Firstly, are you OK? I hope so. It feels very strange sitting here without Phil and I know that you might be feeling a lot like I have: shaken, troubled, let down, worried for the wellbeing on all sides of what’s been going on, and have lots of questions.
“You, me and all of us at This Morning gave our love and support to someone who was not telling the truth, who acted in a way that they themselves felt they had to resign from ITV and step down from a career they loved. That is a lot to process and it’s equally hard to see the toll that has taken on their own mental health.”
The 42-year-old went on to say, “I think what unites us all now is a desire to heal for the health and wellbeing of everyone. I hope that as we start this new chapter and get back to a place of warmth and magic that this show holds for all of us, we can find strength in each other.
“From my heart, can I just say thank you for all your kind messages and thank you for being here this morning. Myself, Josie, Dermot, Alison, Craig and everyone who works on this show will continue to work hard every single day to bring you the show that we love.”
Stand-in host Josie Gibson then hugged Holly and said: “All we can do now is be the family that we are”.
After making it through the statement, Holly and Josie then jumped back into the regularly scheduled programming as usual.
As for the scandal itself, Schofield recently gave an exclusive interview with the BBC admitting that his “career is over” and had “suicidal thoughts” after the story broke, as well as insisting that he hasn’t spoken with Holly since apart from sending her an apology via text following his own statement.
The 61-year-old continues to deny allegations that he groomed the man he maintained a relationship with for a number of years but ITV has stated that they are continuing to investigate the situation following his resignation.
Tribute paid to gran, 51, stabbed to death in broad daylight in Tameside
A 51-year-old woman who was stabbed to death in broad daylight last week has been named as Michelle Hodgkinson, as her family issue a heartbreaking tribute.
She has been described as ‘the most amazing, loving, selfless and funny daughter, mother, mother-in-law, sister, auntie and most recently a nanna’.
Michelle, or ‘our Shelly B’ had been walking along Edge Lane on Friday 2 June when she was approached by a male and stabbed.
Emergency services rushed to the scene but tragically, Michelle died at the scene.
She had just been going about her day, walking to meet her mum so that she could take her shopping.
A 28-year-old man has been arrested arrested on suspicion of murder and has since been detained under the Mental Health Act.
Michelle was a community-driven individual with a long history of charity work and volunteering, as well as being her family’s ‘biggest cheerleader’.
In tribute to her issued through GMP, Michelle’s family said: “Everyone who knows Michelle is in utter shock at the attack she endured and how horrific her last moments were. Our Shelly B was the most amazing, loving, selfless and funny daughter, mother, mother-in-law, sister, auntie and most recently a nanna. It was a privilege to have been known and loved by her.
“She loved helping people in her community and was known for volunteering as an appropriate adult, her charity work and loved creating hampers to make people smile. She would be there for anyone and the day she was taken from us, she was doing just that – walking to meet her mum to take her shopping and to go for a coffee.
“Our family and friends are heartbroken. In one moment our world has crumbled and will never be the same. We will support each other, and we thank and appreciate the love and support shown by our family and friends. Please hold your loved ones close, tell them you love them and make memories.
“Words cannot describe how much she will be missed. Our biggest cheerleader, our confidant, our rock – she will never be forgotten. We love you to the moon and back! We’ll do everything we can to get justice. Love you forever and always!”