People are being urged to only call 999 if you think you’re going to die.
The North East Ambulance Service wants patients to ask themself that question before calling 999, as a number of paramedics come off the road to join the picket line.
The Ambulance service will only be responding to the most life-threatening incidents and ambulances will only be dispatched if to life or limb situations.
Chief operating officer Stephen Segasby says they will be prioritising patients where there is a risk of a loss of life, or limbs.
Category 1 calls – calls that are the most life-threatening – will get an ambulance
Others – even emergencies – will be considered by a clinical team, and ambulances will only be dispatched if there is a threat to life or limb.
Members of the military have been placed on call to drive less urgent ambulance transport, teamed with a paramedic.