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Public showing ‘unwavering support’ for industrial action by nurses, finds survey

NURSES have “unwavering” public support for further strike action in their continuing dispute with the government over pay, staffing and working conditions, a survey revealed today.

The YouGov poll revealed that the public would support nurses withdrawing their labour next year over staffing levels (73 per cent), pay (66 per cent) and threats to patient safety caused by nurse shortages (85 per cent).

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), which commissioned the poll, said it remained in dispute over NHS nurses’ pay in England after the government imposed a pay settlement.

It warned that nurses could strike again in the run-up to next year’s general election.

RCN chief nurse Professor Nicola Ranger said: “When politicians start canvassing voters and knocking on doors, nursing staff could again be standing on picket lines, fighting for fair pay and safe staffing levels.

“The voice of nursing is strong and we will always speak up for our patients. The public knows that and it’s why they continue to back us. 

“We will only get a safe NHS when we have enough nurses.

“But nursing staff continue to feel undervalued by those in power. No party is yet able to confidently say they can avoid further action in 2024.

“Political leaders must show they are ready to respect nursing staff, pay them fairly and address the staffing crisis.”

The union said the NHS has more than 40,000 nursing vacancies despite government claims to have recruited 50,000 more nurses.

It also condemned new “minimum service level” laws requiring  would-be strikers to report for duty or face the sack.

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