Ambulance workers from West Devon joined a picket line today for their one-day strike.

The NHS workers gathered near Derriford Hospital in Plymouth to wave banners as they protested - calling on the Government to take action over the large numbers of delays in ambulance response times.

Many passing drivers hooted their support in response to the union members from UNISON.

The strikers waved banners saying that one in three paramedics have seen deaths due to delays in transferring patients to hospitals and that half of ambulance trusts have ambulance workers using food banks.

Tavistock paramedic Simon Young said: 'This strike is less about pay and more about working conditions which mean we are having to act more as nurses than emergency acute response workers. We spend far too much time looking after acutely ill patients in ambulances waiting to transfer them to hospital. The situation has gone too far and is about mismanagement of the whole of the wider NHS and social care.'

NHS leaders have warned patient safety cannot be guaranteed due to the strikes, which include phone call handlers.

NHS hospital trusts have agreed protocols with ambulance trusts on strikers continuing to respond to life threatening situations.

South Western Ambulance Service has advised people to only call 999 if a patient is in a medical or mental health emergency (when seriously ill or injured and their life ids at risk).

A second day's strike is planned for Wednesday 28 December.