Nurses are to go out on strike for two days next month as a pay dispute escalates in the NHS.
The Royal College of Nursing confirmed that its members will hold their first national walk on 15 and 20 December.
The RCN said the government turned down its offer of formal talks on pay and ministers “chose to strike action”.
NHS trusts will now hold talks with staff about which community and hospital services will run during the strike. The RCN said it would announce which particular NHS employers are running out next week.
Industrial action will take place in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The RCN has halted the announcement of strike action in Scotland after the government resumed pay talks.
The RCN has said that despite a pay rise of around £1,400 a summer, experienced nurses are 20 per cent worse off in real terms due to persistently low-inflation awards since 2010.
It comes as other health unions are polling workers on strike action, with a vote among thousands of Unison members set to strike on Friday. The ballot for Unite NHS members ends next week.
Midwives and physiotherapists are also voting on strike, while a ballot of junior doctors opens in the new year.
Announcing the strike dates, RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said: “It has been more than two weeks since we confirmed to ministers that our members felt such injustice that they strike for the first time.
“My offer for formal talks was rejected and instead ministers have chosen strike action. They have the power and means to stop this by starting serious talks that address our dispute.”
“Nursing staff have enough being taken for granted, low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough to not be able to give our patients the care they deserve.”
The RCN has not yet confirmed how many nurses will strike and where in the three countries.
Talking with NHS leaders independent Some trusts raised the possibility of sharing nurses between hospitals on strike days to help maintain staffing levels.
The hospitals will negotiate with union representatives about services where workers are exempted from taking strike action. It is expected that urgent and emergency care services will be maintained, but trusts will move to “bank holiday” levels of staffing for other services.
The union said further strike days could be held in January if talks between the government and the RCN do not open.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Health leaders understand that this can be an uncertain time for many people, including those who rely on the NHS on a regular basis, and these strikes come at a time when they are the busiest. Coming first.of the year for service.
“It remains to be expected that minimal, urgent, emergency and critical care services will continue during the strike days and should there be temporary changes to non-urgent aspects of care, such as check-ups and planned procedures, the NHS will ensure patients are protected at all times.” Giving priority to their safety, they are informed in advance.
“Health leaders also sympathize with their workers who feel they have no choice but to go on strike, especially as most other trade unions are moving towards the same outcome with their members.”
The RCN has said the economic rationale for paying nursing staff fairly is clear when billions of pounds are being spent on agency staff to fill workforce gaps. It said that last year, 25,000 nursing staff from around the UK left the Nursing and Midwifery Council register, citing poor pay as contributing to staff shortages across the UK, which it warned was threatening patient safety. affecting.
The union said there are 47,000 registered nurse positions in the NHS in England alone.
Responding to the strike action, Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “I am hugely grateful for the hard work and dedication of nurses and I deeply regret that some union members will be taking industrial action.