Residents in South Tyneside are being asked to sign a petition in support of better pay deals for nurses.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is asking people to put their name to the online document – www.rcn.org.uk/nursingcounts – calling for an end to the one per cent cap on nurses’ pay.
Glenn Turp, regional director for RCN Northern region, said: “Public sector pay restraint has seen nurses’ wages drop by 14 per cent in real terms since 2010.
“It was recently announced that MPs would receive a further 1.4 per cent pay rise this year.
“MPs have received pay increases amounting to nearly 14 per cent since 2010 – and yet the Government has maintained a one per cent cap on NHS staff pay, despite the fact that NHS staff work long shifts, often during unsocial hours, trying to keep the nation healthy.
“Nurses enjoy a diverse and rewarding career that really makes a difference but they must be wondering exactly what they have to do to merit a pay award, which reflects the value of their work.”
There are currently 24,000 nurse vacancies across the UK.
Mr Turp said the NHS is already “struggling to cope with hospital bed shortages, long waiting times and under-staffed wards”.
He added: “More than ever the Government should be encouraging people to consider nursing as a career and ensuring nursing staff don’t leave.
“The evidence is strong that nurse numbers have a direct impact on patient health.
The RCN said it needs to collect 100,000 signatures for Parliament to consider nurses’ pay for debate.
Mr Turp said: “By signing you could make a difference.”