ROBUST CONTINGENCY plans including extra ambulance staff on bikes will ensure a safe and responsive service during the Tour de France weekend, Yorkshire Ambulance Service has said.
The pledge comes despite a decision by some YAS workers to strike just as hundreds of thousands of spectators prepare to descend on the county.
Last Thursday, members of the union Unite voted by 84 per cent to strike between 6am and midnight on Saturday July 5 and from 6pm to 10pm on Sunday July 6 .
But YAS insists plans are in place to “provide responsive, effective and safe services” for patients during the weekend.
Chief executive David Whiting said he hoped Unite members would honour any commitments they have made to work.
Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said the union had reached out to Mr Whiting for “peace talks” in the hope of resolving their concerns, which centre on a long-running dispute over patient safety and staffing issues, but had not had a response.
He said: “We are very disappointed that we have been forced into taking action.”
The trust has increased the number of its Life Cycles, motorbikes and vehicles on the road this weekend, and extra staff will be manning the NHS 111 service.
An additional air ambulance staffed with a YAS doctor and clinical team, has also been provided to help reach patients.
Neighbouring ambulance services, including those in the north east and north west, will provide additional support and community medical units will be open in Otley, Ilkley, Skipton and West Tanfield on Saturday and York, Hebden Bridge, Holmfirth and Sheffield on Sunday.
The Trust’s associate director of resilience and special services, Ian Walton, said a detailed plan was in place and to ensure it is prepared. He added: “We are committed to minimising the level of disruption to our service and have taken comprehensive steps to ensure we maintain operational cover and sustain effective and safe services for patients calling upon us.”