“IT'S not the same as it was.” That’s how a Barry paramedic who has been with the service for over two decades described the situation as members of the Welsh Ambulance Service held strike action today, January 11.

Around 20,000 ambulance workers, including emergency call handlers, are on strike today in England and Wales.

Gareth Williams was one of the strikers at Barry emergency services station on the town’s Port Road West.

When asked why he was striking, Mr Williams said that in 23 years at the service he has seen it change, but only for the worse.

“It is not the job I joined 23 years ago,” said Mr Williams. “I do find enjoyment looking after the patients. That is my priority, but everything else is just not what it was.”

Mr Williams described how he and his colleagues feel helpless going on shifts with skeleton staff.

With at least 10 staff expected to be on any particular shift pattern, Mr Williams described how he can show up for work to find only five staff, meaning extra pressure on he and his colleagues, causing grave delays while working.

“We are waiting outside hospital several hours, and you are waiting outside people’s homes seven hours for backup,” said Mr Williams.

Barry And District News:

Gareth Williams has been with the service for over two decades and says it's not what it once was

Earlier this week a Barry woman described the harrowing experience in grim detail of how her husband died waiting for an ambulance for over two hours.

Lesley Weekley claims when paramedics arrived on the scene they told her her husband Robert ‘Squeaky’ Weekley would still be alive if they had got there on time.

Barry And District News:

Gareth Williams spoke candidly on Facebook Live about what it is like to be a paramedic at the moment

At Barry emergency station today, Mr Williams gave no guarantee how long he would remain in the service, with conditions getting tougher and tougher.

He pleaded for the government to come up with a plan to stop the strikes.

“Come to the table and speak to us, said Mr Williams. “We are not asking for loads of money, just a bit extra each year to keep up with things.”

England's health secretary Steve Barclay described the strikes as "extremely regrettable" and said people should use their "common sense" when it comes to what activities they do today.

Are you supportive of the strikes? What do you think of the NHS service where you are? Let us know in comments, on the Barry and District News Facebook, or email barrynews@barryanddistrictnews.co.uk.