Members of the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) took further strike action yesterday (Wednedsay) and today, after previously striking on December 15 and 20.

But nurses at Royal Surrey County Hospital, Frimley Health and Hampshire Hospitals – which runs Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester – did not take part in the December walkout after RCN members at those NHS trusts didn’t meet the 50 per cent turnout threshold required by law and did not join this week's walkouts either.

Those trust members who did vote in December voted "overwhelmingly" for strike action though, said the RCN union, which is seeking a 19 per cent pay increase and had accused the government of not opening talks on the matter.

Don Tallo, RCN senior regional officer, said in December: “Those that did vote voted overwhelmingly for strike action and it is a real shame that they won’t be able to demonstrate their anger on the first two strike dates announced by the Royal College Of Nursing.”

The government in England said that the 4.75 per cent average pay increase given to NHS staff that year was in line with the recommendation from the NHS Pay Review Body made in July.

Nursing staff at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust have joined the strike action, however, after meeting the turnout threshold.

Ambulance workers, including those at South East Coast and South Central ambulance trusts, will join nurses in a further day of strike action on February 6 in England and Wales.

The GMB announced four new stoppages for ambulance staff, one of which coincides with a nurses' strike date.

This is the first time both ambulance staff and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have acted on the same day.

The walkouts by staff including paramedics, call handlers and support workers in seven of the 10 English ambulance services along with the national Welsh service will take place on February 6 and 20, and March 6 and 20.

The strikes will only affect non-life threatening calls and the unions have requested above-inflation pay increases. The governments in England and Wales have given NHS staff an average pay increase of 4.75 per cent.