LONDON - The current round of strikes among British ambulance workers is terrifying for patients in need of urgent care, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Wednesday.

"What's terrifying is that right now, people not knowing whether when they call 999 they will get the treatment that they need," Sunak told parliament, referring to the country's '999' emergency services hotline.

Ambulance workers were on Wednesday holding a second day of strikes over pay, during which they will only respond to the most urgent cases. Their first strike took place in December and further action is planned later in January.

Workers across a range of sectors including health, post, trains and border force have gone on strike in recent months due to surging inflation.

Earlier health minister Steve Barclay said the ambulance strikes were extremely regrettable and that he was concerned about the impact on patient safety, despite arrangements with ambulance staff to respond to the most serious cases.

(Reporting by William James and Farouq Suleiman; Editing by Kate Holton)