NHS nurses have moved a step closer to striking as they make their unrest clear in a “summer of action”.

The Royal College of Nursing is holding demos, rallies and vigils to drum up public support for improving the NHS staff pay rise above the 3% offered by the Government.

Nurses are angry because if inflation rises to 4% by the end of the year their pay rise would end up a real-terms cut.

They will stage summer events across the country, including demos in Hove and Liverpool.

The RCN had demanded a fully funded 12.5% “restorative” pay rise after a decade of below-inflation deals under the Tories.

Protesting nurses in London
Protesting nurses in London

It is consulting members on industrial action and will launch a consultative ballot on views about the 3% pay offer next month.

YouGov polling shows 51% of the public think the 3% deal is too little and 62% say there are too few NHS nurses to provide safe care.

Pat Cullen, general secretary of the RCN, said “the campaign won’t stop until nursing is respected and protected”.

She added: “This award will not be enough to prevent an exodus of exhausted NHS nursing staff.

“If ministers ignore the voice of nursing, they ignore the voice of patients – and that is something that we, as nurses, will never allow.”

Elsewhere, a study carried out by Glasgow Caledonian University found one in five respiratory nurses suffered moderate to severe anxiety and depression during the first wave of the pandemic.