'Criminal negligence'

Unite leader Sharon Graham to join ambulance strike picket line in Coventry amid shocking revelations on West Midlands ambulance delays

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham is set to join NHS ambulance workers, Unite members, on the picket line in Coventry from 8am on Wednesday (December 21) at Coventry Ambulance Headquarters, Ibstock Road, Coventry, CV6 6JR.

Addressing the ambulance workers, the union leader will say, “This government is guilty of criminal negligence in its hollowing out of the NHS long before now. The strikers are actually trying to save the service.”

Figures uncovered by a recent freedom of information request from BBC Newsnight showed the number of people in the West Midlands who died after an ambulance delay has risen significantly. Yearly numbers rose from one in 2020 to 37 up until September 2022.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “The Government has had months to intervene and end this dispute. They chose not to. It’s Steven Barclay who is holding the country to ransom, not the unions. He will have to carry the can if patients suffer.

“The shocking statistics from West Midlands Ambulance Trust tell the real story. Where were the government’s ‘well-rehearsed contingency plans’ when people were dying in the West Midlands because the crisis in the ambulance service meant an ambulance couldn’t get to them on time?”

More than 1,600 workers at the West Midlands, North West and North East ambulance service trusts will strike on Wednesday, December 21, 2022. Unite’s ambulance workers voted by up to 92 per cent for strike action.

By Ciaran Naidoo