Sunday 19 May 2024
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Nottingham

Nursing union leader urges NUH nurses to take strike action over pay

The leader of the UK’s biggest nursing union visited Nottingham to urge its members at the city’s two NHS hospitals to vote for strike action in a forthcoming ballot over pay and nationwide nurse shortages.

Pat Cullen, the General Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing, spoke with nursing staff at the Queen’s Medical Centre on Thursday evening and Nottingham City Hospital on Friday along with RCN representatives from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Ms Cullen’s three-day tour of hospitals in the Midlands came as new figures revealed that the number of vacancies for NHS nurses in the region soared by nearly 18% to 9,336 in the 12 months to the end of June, with around one in eight registered nurse posts unfilled.

The RCN will ask its members working in the NHS across the UK to vote for strike action in protest at Government pay freezes and below inflation pay awards stretching back more than a decade. The College believes that a fair pay deal will help to address the growing nurse staffing crisis in the NHS. The ballot opens on 15 September.

Ms Cullen said: “Nursing staff are burnt out and ministers choosing to suppress their pay well below inflation in a worsening cost of living crisis is forcing more to reconsider their future.

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“Rather than leave a fantastic profession, I’m telling our members that enough is enough and the time has come for them to vote for strike action this year.

“The new prime minister must act fast to give nursing staff a pay award that their hard work and dedication deserves as part of resolving the all-engulfing NHS crisis.”

Ahead of the ballot, a YouGov survey has found that public support for nurses taking strike action has increased to nearly two-thirds (64%) and that three-quarters of people feel there are not enough nursing staff employed in the NHS to provide safe care for patients.

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