Herts emergency services well-placed to deal with industrial action

EMERGENCY services provided by the police, ambulance service and hospitals across the district said they were well-placed to deal with the strikes yesterday.

A small number of non-emergency services at St Albans City Hospital and two other hospitals under West Herts Hospital Trust (WHHT) were affected and some routine services were cancelled in advance of the strike.

Workers, protesting at changes to their pension and working conditions, joined a picket line outside City Hospital.

A spokesperson for the trust said that it had continued to provide a safe service across St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and Watford. Routine blood tests, x-rays and other scanning, physiotherapy and other therapies were areas particularly affected by the industrial action but all appointments had been or would be rescheduled.

He added: “The trust is grateful to the staff for being flexible, including being redeployed to different sites to ensure that services have continued.

“The trust appreciates the good working relationship it has with its local union representatives which has allowed staff to raise their concerns around the plans to change public sector pensions whilst ensuring minimal disruption to patients.”

The trust was unable to give specific numbers about how many individuals had been affected or operations cancelled, and the spokesperson said they had been advised by the Department of Health that it would be the only source of such information, which would be collated nationally.

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The East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) said they had been well-equipped to deal with the situation and maintain their emergency service as they had a tried and tested contingency plan in place.

A spokesperson for Herts Police said there had been no disruption to their emergency response service or any other areas, despite the fact that members of staff had gone on strike.

He was unable to give precise figures of the number of staff striking but said they would be available later this week.