NURSES are working ‘excessive amounts of unpaid overtime’ and should be given a substantial pay rise, according to a workers union.

Steve Flanagan, North West director of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Nurses are facing their sixth year of capped pay, whilst the cost of living continues to rise month on month.

Yet, they’ve cared for record numbers of patients through the most disruptive re-organisations of the NHS and in the face of huge workforce cuts.

“Not only are nurses working at full stretch; they are under enormous pressure.

Our recent survey of RCN members in the North West shows they are working above and beyond to provide and maintain quality patient care. 66 per cent of members who responded told us that they worked in excess of their contracted hours. Staggeringly, 29 per cent said that they worked between an extra one and two hours.

“Nurses are working excessive amounts of unpaid overtime and the NHS simply could not function without their goodwill.”

The RCN’s What if? campaign is there to give nursing staff a voice and the RCN will be campaigning to ensure that the Government listens and does the decent and honourable thing by giving nursing staff the pay rise they deserve.”