Nurses set to strike

The results of a ballot by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), which closed last week, are due to be revealed over the next few days.

This is the first time the RCN has balloted all its members.

The results are still being counted, but sources say a large majority of nurses have voted in favour of strike action.

The RCN has recommended to its members that they strike, but the government has urged them to consider the impact on patients.

If strikes do take place, they will affect non-urgent, but not emergency care. As the vote involved workplace-based ballots, if nurses do not support striking at a local level, some hospitals and services may not be involved.

Pat Cullen, RCN general secretary and chief executive, said: "Huge numbers of staff - both experienced and newer recruits - are deciding they cannot see a future in a nursing profession that is not valued nor treated fairly.

"Our strike action will be as much for patients as it is for nurses. We have their support in doing this."

The RCN had asked for a pay rise of 5 per cent above the RPI inflation rate, which is currently over 12 per cent.

NHS staff in England and Wales, including nurses, have been given an average rise of 4.75 per cent. In Scotland, NHS staff were offered a 5 per cent rise, but this was changed to a flat rate of just over £2,200.

Nurses in Northern Ireland have not been offered a pay rise.

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