AMBULANCE staff from across the East of England will join strike action as NHS workers protest over pay and staffing.

Announcing its re-ballot results of health workers, trade union Unison now says staff at another four English ambulance services and five NHS organisations including NHS Blood and Transplant, will now be able to strike.

Since the dispute over pay and staffing began in December, staff have taken strike action on four occasions according to UNISON.

Tim Roberts, eastern regional secretary at Unison, said: “The public must think the Westminster government is living on another planet.

“They can see how talks in other parts of the UK have lifted the threat of strikes and cannot understand why the prime minister isn’t doing the same.

“East of England Ambulance staff don’t want to stop work, and the public wants an NHS capable of delivering quality care.

“The prime minister must roll up his sleeves, invite the unions into Downing Street and start the genuine pay talks that could end this damaging dispute.”

The 12,000 staff involved in the re-ballots can now take part in the ongoing dispute alongside their NHS colleagues at ambulance services in London, Yorkshire, the North East, North West and South West.

NHS workers at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and two trusts in Liverpool at the University Hospitals Trust and the city’s Heart and Chest Hospital, have also had live strike mandates since last year. Between them, these NHS employees have taken three days of action.

Christina McAnea, general secretary at Unison, added: “It’s time the prime minister ditched his ‘do nothing’ strategy for dealing with escalating strikes across the NHS.

“Governments in other parts of the UK know what it takes to resolve disputes. Ministers in Scotland and Wales are talking to health unions and acting to boost pay for NHS staff this year.

“Sadly, health workers across England have been met with a wall of silence from number ten. The prime minister stubbornly refuses to talk about pay, preferring to subject everyone to many months of disruption.”

An East of England Ambulance Service Trust spokesperson said:  “We are aware that members of the Unison union have voted in favour in industrial action over the national issue of pay.  

“We understand the strength of feeling behind the concerns colleagues have around this issue and we are committed to working with our unions to improve working lives at our service.”