A NEW POLL by YouGov for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) shows that the level of public support for a strike by nurses is higher than it was on the eve of the first strike in December 2022.

Polling conducted between 9 and 11 June 2023 shows public support for nurses is higher than before nursing strikes began in December last year. The latest poll shows 62 per cent of the public support striking nurses – the highest for any profession taking strike action in the current period – with the majority of supporters saying they strongly support nurses. More than eight in 10 (82 per cent) of those polled also said they support a pay rise for nurses.

The Royal College of Nursing is holding a second statutory industrial action ballot on whether to hold strikes until late December 2023. Almost 300,000 nursing staff in England are eligible to vote by midnight on Friday 23 June.

For strikes to be carried out, more than half of eligible members must vote, with the majority voting in favour of more action. This strike mandate for the RCN would allow action to be taken in every part of the NHS in England, rather than only a subset of employers. To date, approximately only half of England’s hospitals have seen industrial action by nursing staff.

RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen, said: “Public support this year has been immense but nursing staff have not taken it for granted. To know that our patients still support our campaign for fair pay is a real shot in the arm. Nurses should see that the public backs them and they can back themselves. The patients who came onto picket lines, many straight from a hospital bed, gave a real boost to nursing staff who worried about leaving patients. That public support is unwavering must focus attention in Downing Street.

“Rishi Sunak must look closely at the strong backing we have and understand this is unfinished business. When you do the right thing by nurses, you do the right thing by patients. Voters of all parties are still with us, and it appears he urgently needs to get them back on side this summer. Next month, as we celebrate 75 years of the NHS, this will be an election issue too.”

* Source: Royal College of Nursing