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Nursing confirmed as most trusted profession as strike risk grows

23 Nov 2022

While nursing ranks highest, trust in politicians has plummeted.

Nurse speaks to patient

Nursing has topped an independent poll of the country’s most-trusted professions as the risk of industrial action at NHS employers heightens. The poll found 89% of British people trust nurses to tell the truth, whereas just 12% trust politicians, putting them in last place.  

Nurses came top out of 30 professions in the annual Ipsos Veracity Index, which has been running since 1983. They were only added to the list in 2016 and have topped it ever since. Meanwhile, their real-terms pay has fallen by 20% over the past decade. 

It comes as we celebrate Nursing Support Workers’ Day to mark the huge contribution of health care assistants, who are also due to join picket lines next month, alongside their registered nurse colleagues.

It’s now been five days since we asked the UK government to commit to negotiations on NHS pay to avoid strike action, but they’ve still not happened. 

RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “This huge vote of confidence from the public will boost the morale of nursing staff as we head for strikes in December. 

“The profession at the bottom of the list should be careful how it speaks to and about the one at the top. In large number, people are showing their support for our members as we push for safe patient care and a well-respected nursing profession. Nursing staff are patients’ greatest advocates. 

“It is regrettable that the UK government has yet to open formal, detailed negotiations. Their inaction is pushing our members closer still to announcing strike dates in a bid to be heard.”

We’re campaigning for a pay rise of 5% above RPI inflation to overcome members’ real-terms pay cuts, support nursing staff through the cost-of-living crisis and recognise their safety critical skills.  

Last week we announced that plans for strike action in Scotland have been paused after the Scottish government decided to return to the negotiating table to avoid strikes. There is no functioning government in Northern Ireland. Welsh ministers have not yet agreed to meet. 

Page last updated - 23/04/2023