Public asked once again to use ambulance service wisely during industrial action

16 February 2023

During forthcoming industrial action (Monday 20 February), Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is, once again, asking members of the public to only dial 999 for an ambulance where a patient has a life-threatening or very serious condition.

Strike action by GMB members is planned on Monday 20 February and the A&E Operations (frontline emergency ambulances and 999 call handling) and NHS 111 services will be impacted. Minimal disruption is expected to the non-emergency Patient Transport Service (PTS).

This industrial action is part of a national pay dispute with the government.

Union membership in Yorkshire Ambulance Service of GMB is approximately 1,370 staff (out of a workforce of over 7,000).

Whilst we recognise and respect individuals’ legal right to participate in industrial action, our priority remains ensuring that patient and staff safety, welfare, dignity, and respect are maintained. Yorkshire Ambulance Service has put a number of contingency plans in place to allow it to respond to high acuity life-threatening and very serious cases during the strike.

Discussions between GMB representatives and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service senior management team have resulted in derogations (also known as exemptions) being put in place. For our emergency ambulance service, this will include responding to calls where someone is in a life-threatening condition

Nick Smith, Executive Director of Operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said:
“It remains important to use our emergency service appropriately for very serious and life-threatening incidents.

“With further industrial action across key services, we will have less resources available to respond to patients on Monday 20 February. Services will be disrupted, with the likelihood of delays in emergency responses and telephone calls to 999 and NHS 111 being answered.

“So, once again, we are asking the public to use our services wisely, but particularly our emergency ambulance service. We will be here for those who really need us, but you should only call 999 when someone is in a life-threatening or very serious condition as we prioritise our responses.

“Ambulances will still be able to respond during the strike, but this will only be where there is an immediate risk to life. Less serious calls may not receive a response or a significantly delayed response for the duration of the strike action and some patients might be asked to make their own way to hospital, where it is safe for them to so.

“Patients waiting for an ambulance should only call back if their symptoms worsen or to cancel an ambulance if alternative transport has been arranged, so that our lines are available to take new emergency calls.”

“We also ask that people seek help and advice from alternative healthcare providers, including NHS 111 Online (, their own GP or by visiting a pharmacist.”


Notes to Editor:

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust covers almost 6,000 square miles of varied terrain from isolated moors and dales to urban areas, coastline and inner cities and provides 24-hour emergency and healthcare services to a population of more than five million people. The organisation receives around average of over 3,500 emergency and routine calls per day and employs over 7,200 staff.

The Patient Transport Service made over 706,000 journeys in 2021-22 transporting eligible patients to and from hospital and treatment centre appointments. The Trust’s NHS 111 service helped around 1.7 million patients across Yorkshire and the Humber, Bassetlaw, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire during 2021-22. To find out more about YAS, please visit the website at

Produced by: Corporate Communications Department