THE Government implemented another real-terms pay cut for nursing staff this month and in response the Royal College of Nursing’s Council decided to ask all 270,000 of its members working in the NHS how they want to respond.

As the South West elected members of the RCN Council, we voted to launch a poll of members to give nursing staff a voice and decide what action to take.

In the online poll, RCN members have a chance to vote for action short of a strike – such as not working unpaid overtime – or taking an historical decision for strike action.

Nursing staff are beyond disappointed by years of pay restraint when the pressure on our services has reached unprecedented levels.

With the recent announcement of a general election there is no better time to hold politicians to account for the impact of their policies on NHS staff and on patient care.

Nurses are not taking this step lightly - the wellbeing of our patients is the priority of every member of the nursing team, but too many of us are struggling to make ends meet and we should not have to cover the NHS deficit from our own pay packet.

We ask for readers’ support and understanding.

South West RCN Council members