A national strike paralysed emergency services in large parts of Britain on Wednesday. Some 25,000 emergency doctors, paramedics and emergency centre staff have been laid off in England and Wales.
GPs and pharmacists will be working on Wednesday.
The strikers demand higher wages and better working conditions. In addition, they want a surcharge that compensates for inflation. On an annual basis, it is currently around 10 percent. Earlier, the conservative government of Rishi Sunak offered emergency workers 4.75 percent more wages. However, it refuses to increase that offer because it lacks resources.
Health Minister Steve Barclay admitted to the public broadcaster BBC that the underfunded health service NHS is under great pressure. He referred to long waiting times when transferring patients from ambulances to emergency rooms. However, he stressed that the government had promised investments.
In recent months, workers in many sectors in the UK have been on strike regularly, including public transport, education and the postal service. In addition, new strikes by hospital staff are planned for next week.