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Important information on EMAS industrial action and hospital pressures

Health protection

21 December 2022

Brightly coloured ambulance rushes along a UK street.

You may notice activity involving ambulance staff, as industrial action takes place from 6am on Wednesday 21 December until 6am on Thursday 22 December.

It is likely that 999 call handlers will be very busy and NHS 111 call centres will have fewer staff. Longer call response times are expected across the system. As a result, anyone with non-urgent care needs are being asked to first seek medical help from NHS 111 online.

Patients should continue to call 999 in a medical or mental health emergency – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.

Impacted organisations within Integrated Care Northamptonshire have plans to deal with disruptions such as industrial action and have been working in partnership with members of UNISON and Unite to ensure emergency and urgent services are prioritised.

If patients have not been contacted and told otherwise, they are advised to attend appointments as planned. This includes GP appointments, which are not impacted by this industrial action.

There will be fewer ambulances on the roads during industrial action, with the NHS prioritising those with life-threatening needs. As a result, patients whose conditions are not life-threatening are unlikely to get an ambulance on strike days.

See the East Midlands Ambulance Service for more information about industrial action taking place

For more information on when to call 999 and when to go to A&E, you can visit the NHS UK website.

Helping patients to return home or into a community setting from hospital

Our priority remains the safety and good care of patients and we are working closely with our partner health and care organisations in Northamptonshire to ensure those who are ready to be discharged from hospital can be.

This is an unprecedented situation for the NHS and we continue to face on-going pressures in our system. The staff in all of our health and care organisations are doing their very best to ensure that we have a hospital bed for anyone who is seriously ill, injured, or their life is at risk so that we can help reduce waiting times and ambulance delays at Accident and Emergency Departments.

Making sure people go home as soon as they are ready is a daily countywide effort with partners to help patients get any additional support needed to leave the hospital and continue their recovery at home.

To help us do this, we would ask all families who have a relative in hospital who no longer need care in an acute hospital, to help us to support their relatives to be discharged to their home or a community setting, so that we can make that bed available for someone who is more in need.

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