Nurses on strike earlier in DecemberGetty Images

More nurses will be asked to strike next month in a bid to raise pressure on the government, union leaders warn.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) says if progress is not made in negotiations by the end of January the next set of strikes will include all eligible members in England for the first time.

It comes as ministers push for new laws on strike days.

Nursing staff from more than 70 NHS trusts in England are set to take industrial action this week.

The RCN has said nurses should receive a pay increase of 5% above inflation this year, which at the peak rate of inflation would have equated to a 19% rise, although reports have suggested it would accept 10%.

The government says the demands are unaffordable and pay rises were decided by independent pay review bodies.

General secretary Pat Cullen described Rishi Sunak’s position in their negotiation deadlock as “baffling, reckless and politically ill-considered”.

She said: “The prime minister gave nursing staff a little optimism that he was beginning to move, but seven days later he appears entirely uninterested in finding a way to stop this.

“Nursing staff just wanted to be valued and recognised.

“Without, they will keep leaving in record numbers with consequences for patients that Robert Francis documented in painful detail.”

Source: BBC

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