Nurses are demanding pay rises funded by the billions of pounds the Government has earmarked for NHS modernisation.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) hinted at strike action if some of the Budget cash was not used to increase pay.
Beverly Malone, general secretary of the RCN, said she wanted to see a bumper investment in nursing and that money was needed most.
Malone said last year’s pay increase was inadequate, as the 3.9 per cent hike only improved the typical nurse’s salary by around £9 per week. She said retention rather than recruitment was the key to NHS success, but money was essential to achieving improvements in both.
Her calls come on top of negotiations for flexible working and contracts. The money from the Budget will raise NHS spending by £40bn in the next six years and it is anticipated that spending for this year will be £5bn up on last year.