Thousands of ambulance workers are set to strike as industrial action continues.

It is predicted that more than 3,500 GMB Union ambulance workers across the South East and South West will walk out today (February 6) including paramedics, emergency care assistants, call handlers and other staff. A number of pickets will be staged across the regions.

The industrial action comes as workers across the ambulance service voted to strike over the Government’s imposed four per cent pay award and are furious over the Government’s apparent attempts to "smear" them over "life and limb" cover on strike days. 

South Central Ambulance Service will be striking between 6am and midnight today, with picket lines expected between 6am and 6pm.

Despite this the NHS in the South East is asking patients to seek urgent care if they need it during industrial action and to continue to attend appointments as planned unless contacted to rearrange.

A spokesperson from the NHS said: "Patients should use services wisely by going to NHS 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and continuing to call 999 in a life-threatening emergency.

"General practice, community pharmacies, and dentistry are not impacted by strike action and the public should continue to access these services as needed on strike days."

While nurses in some local NHS organisations, including NHS Trusts, are striking, not every local area will be impacted. 

NHS England’s Medical Director for the South East Dr Vaughan Lewis, said: “The NHS is working hard to keep patients safe during strikes while delivering the best care possible.

“It is important that people continue coming forward for treatment, whether it is 111 online for non-life-threatening care, making use of your local pharmacy or General Practice, or dialling 999 in a life-threatening emergency. 

“I would also ask the public to play their part by taking simple steps during industrial action to look after themselves, loved ones and checking in on vulnerable family members and neighbours.”

Anyone not facing a life-threatening emergency is likely to wait longer for a response or be directed to alternative care.

NHS England and local NHS areas have plans in place to ensure life-saving care continues and to minimise disruption to patient care.