Nurses consider strike action over pay for first time in 100 years

More than 50,000 of the RCN’s 270,000 members took part in the poll.

The large majorities reflect growing dissatisfaction within the nursing profession over wages.

‘The RCN has never gone on strike before, so balloting our members would be a very significant step’.

The union’s annual conference in Liverpool is discussing its next move. Another ballot will need to be held before any action can take place.

Mr Farron said the Lib Dems would scrap the existing public sector pay cap, which limits pay rises for workers to 1% per year until 2020. “The 1% cap on nursing pay is putting patient care at risk”.

Janet Davies, RCN chief executive and general secretary, told the congress that “patient safety comes first” but said: “I am sure it is not just in nursing that there is an assumption that as soon as you are diagnosed with dementia, that is the end”, reported the Times.

If nurses did vote to walk out it would see patients facing another year of NHS industrial action disruption following last year’s junior doctors’ strikes.

The Royal College of Nursing says that 40,000 unfilled posts in the NHS in England have left staff under “enormous” pressure.

Jon Skewes, director of policy at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Continuing pay restraint is a disastrous policy for maternity services and the NHS”. The party’s leader also said that the controversial pay cap, branded by many unions as a “cruel” policy, would leave the average civil servant £800 worse off by 2021.

Scottish Labour Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said: “Our NHS nurses are the foundation of our health service, but as this report shows they aren’t getting the support and the resources they need from the SNP government”.

A survey by the Health Foundation last month found that England could face a shortfall of 42,000 nurses by 2020, and almost half of all nurses believe that staffing levels are already dangerously stretched. One in nine positions is vacant, according to analysis by the RCN.

He said it offered NHS bursaries for eligible student nurses and supported professional development.

“As is usual practice, the government accepted independent recommendations about this year’s pay uplift”.

He is saying: “Nurses have been treated like pawns by the Tories for far too long”.

‘It’s a message to all parties that the crisis in nursing recruitment must be put centre stage in this election.

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