PEOPLE are being urged to only call 999 for an ambulance in a ‘life or limb-threatening emergency’ after thousands of workers walked out in a long-running row over pay and staffing.

Thousands of Welsh Ambulance Service workers are on strike today, with the Welsh Ambulance service warning of ‘severe disruption’ from Monday to Wednesday.

Union GMB said more than 11,000 of its ambulance workers will walk out in England and Wales, including paramedics, emergency care assistants and call handlers, with ambulance workers in the Unite union in parts of the country also on strike.

Unite and GMB members are striking today, Monday, February 20, with Unite members also set to walk out on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It is the largest day of industrial action across the ambulance service in Wales as previously both unions have only taken part in strikes on separate dates.

Unite confirmed 92 per cent of its Welsh Ambulance Service members who voted rejected the latest offer from the Welsh Government, with a 70 per cent turnout.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite members have spoken - the current offer is not acceptable. These workers are living hand-to-mouth.

“Act now before the strikes escalate further.”

Sonia Thompson, assistant director of operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “Our service will suffer severe disruption from Monday through to Wednesday as we see some of our staff take industrial action over a three-day period.

“We encourage the public to only call us in a life or limb-threatening emergency, and to use one of the other options we have available before calling 999.

“They can head to the NHS 111 Wales website in the first instance to check their symptoms and get free, trusted healthcare advice to help them.

“Your local pharmacy will also be able to provide expert advice on minor illnesses and medicines.”