64% of public support nurses taking strike action ahead of ballot – poll

Almost two-thirds of the public support nurses taking strike action ahead of the upcoming ballot, a poll has found.

The YouGov poll, which surveyed 1,752 adults in the UK between August 26 and 28, found that 64% support industrial action from nurses.

It also found a sharp fall in public confidence in the safety of NHS care amid increasing concerns over the shortage of nurses.

The number of respondents who said they were confident they or a loved one would receive good care in the NHS has fallen to 56% compared to 68% in June.

Just less than two-thirds (62%) said this was due to there not being enough nurses to provide safe care while 55% say waiting times contribute to concerns.

The findings come as the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) prepares to ballot 300,000 of its members across the UK from September 15 in a dispute over pay.

The union said it is the first time members have voted on strike action in its hundred-year history.

The RCN is also announcing an increase in the benefit it will pay to members to support them if they do take action.

Striking nursing staff whose earnings are withheld by their employer will now receive a strike benefit payment of £50 a day – a rise of just over 10% in line with inflation – taken from the RCN’s £50 million strike fund.

The payments will also be made from the first day of a strike instead of the second day of lost earnings, the RCN said.

Pat Cullen (pictured), RCN general secretary and chief executive, said: “Strike action is no one’s first choice – especially nursing staff.

“We joined the profession to treat people, to advocate for our patients and the care they deserve – and through this vote we are saying they deserve better.”

She added: “If we are pushed to strike – we will still be advocating for these patients and the future of the NHS they deserve.

“This increase recognises the increased cost of living and the impact spiralling inflation is having on each and every one of our members.”

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