Nurses have said they are prepared to strike over this year's pay award.

The council of the Royal College of Nursing was asked in a resolution at this week's annual congress to 'investigate what form of industrial action would be appropriate in relation to the pay award'.

The union said nurses will receive a 1.9 per cent increase this year instead of the 2.5 per cent sought by members. Representatives voted 97.25 per cent in favour of the motion at the congress in Harrogate.

RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: 'Nurses deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.'