NHS strikes are about “far more than just money”, according to an ambulance driver outside Welshpool Ambulance Station.

A picket line has formed outside Welshpool Ambulance Station as part of the nationwide strike of ambulance workers.

On Wednesday, December 21, ambulance workers, including paramedics and call handlers, across England and Wales are striking over a pay dispute.

Members of the GMB union – which makes up about a quarter of the ambulance service in Wales – are striking for 24 hours, ending at midnight on Wednesday.

Ambulance workers have cited poor pay, affecting their health, wellbeing and ability to do their job, as key reasons for the strike action.

GMB Rep for North Powys and paramedic, Julian Ward, was picketing in Welshpool, and said: “We’ve seen plenty of support and solidarity from plenty of people like those driving past, even some deliveries like the local Unite the Union branch popping down with a bag of chocolates for the workers stood out here.


“Everything is running as normal in regards to high priority calls, there are still crews on hand to head out if required.

“The strike today is about more than just money and pay, it’s about the big picture of what’s happening to the NHS. It’s about showing solidarity for nurses, doctors, and every worker who’s seen the NHS come under fire as it remains understaffed and underfunded.

“As it stands, a lot of people are being failed, both NHS workers and members of the public. It’s stuck in a vicious circle with no resolution in sight.

“We’re being stretched further and further to a point where we can’t properly do the job we’re supposed to do, the job we’ve been trained to do. Instead, we’re expected to take on multiple roles, which has a knock-on effect on the quality of care we can offer.

“I’ve been working in the NHS for 20 years, and I’ve seen the priorities change dramatically in that time. I’ve seen the focus go from putting the patient first and foremost to the scene become more about the politics.

“We’re all here to help but we are being forced to become negotiators for our own roles and jobs.”

Fellow ambulance driver, Eve Baharrell, said: “People can criticise the strike to say it’s putting people at risk, but patients are already at risk.

“When you have to respond to an elderly woman who’s been lying on the floor for twelve hours because no ambulance has been able to respond, as I did yesterday, you see the first hand damage of what the government has done to the NHS.”