Public urged to use health services appropriately ahead of upcoming NHS industrial action

People living across Lancashire and South Cumbria have been urged to use health services appropriately ahead of NHS industrial action happening by both nursing staff and ambulance services next week.

For the first time this year, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members at a number of NHS organisations across Lancashire and South Cumbria plan to join strike action on the same day as Unite and GMB members of North West Ambulance Service.

Ambulance and nursing staff will strike on Monday 6 February, while nursing strikes will continue on Tuesday 7 February and ambulance service staff who are members of Unison will take part in further industrial action on Friday 10 February.

Dr David Levy, medical director at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, which organises health services for the region, said there is likely to be significant service disruption and has urged people to make NHS 111 Online their first port of call for non-emergency health needs.

NHS 111 Online is available by visiting

Dr Levy said: “The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to mitigate risks to patient safety and manage any disruption but there is likely to be a disruption to services across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

“We ask people to use services wisely during industrial action and take simple steps to help ensure care is available to those who need it most. This includes using NHS 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and continuing to only use 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency.

“Ambulances will still be able to respond in these situations, but this may only be where there is an immediate risk to life. There will be fewer ambulances on the roads during industrial action, with the NHS prioritising those with life-threatening needs.

“If your conditions are not life-threatening you are unlikely to get an ambulance on strike days. Not all hospitals are impacted, but please check your local services for information about any disruption.”

Industrial action by North West Ambulance Service staff is planned on the following dates in February:

  • Monday 6 February – Unite and GMB members only
  • Friday 10 February – Unison members only
  • Thursday 16 February – GMB members only
  • Monday 20 February – GMB members only
  • Wednesday 22 February – Unite members only

Meanwhile, industrial action by Royal College of Nursing members is planned on Monday and Tuesday 6 and 7 February and is set to impact the following organisations:

  • University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT)
  • Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LTH)
  • North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS)

The NHS will continue to do everything it can to go ahead with planned procedures – especially for those in greatest clinical need – and patients will be contacted if an appointment needs to be rescheduled. Anyone who has not been contacted should attend their appointment as planned.

Local NHS services will also keep their websites and social media accounts up-to-date with information about local service disruption – so please check before you travel.

Dr Levy said: “Regardless of any strike action taking place, it is really important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.”

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