Dec. 20, 2022 -- Britain’s National Health Service is reeling after strikes by nurses and ambulance workers this week.

Will Quince, minister for health and secondary care, said crucial health services will be disrupted, Bloomberg reported. 

Officials are urging people to drink less alcohol, avoid “risky activity,” check in with at-risk neighbors, and call emergency services only in a life-threatening situation.

Union leader Onay Kasab of Unite said members will cover emergency calls and leave picket lines if emergencies become too big for local services.

Still, it is “a scary time to be unwell at the moment,” said Laura Hart, a picketing nurse.

Bloomberg reported that the military is on standby to send drivers and support staff to fill in for striking ambulance workers. But they aren’t allowed to drive above the speed limit or drive through red lights.

“The joint actions by nurses and ambulance workers add to a growing crisis in the NHS, which is struggling with staff shortages and waiting lists for operations,” Bloomberg wrote. “The UK faces labor unrest on a variety of fronts over the holiday season, with postal, transport and other workers also taking action.”

Government and union officials met Tuesday. But the labor groups said there was no further discussion about pay, leading Kasab to call the meeting “entirely pointless.” 

Government officials say they can’t exceed an independent recommendation made earlier this year.