RCN: covers registered nurses and students and has just agreed to extend its membership to HCAs and nurse cadets. Membership is 330,000;91 per cent of members are women and 7. 7 per cent are from an ethnic minority. Almost 40 per cent of full members are aged 3544 with a further 24 per cent in the 25-34 bracket and 26 per cent aged 45-54.

Unison: its health sector covers registered and student nurses, nursing assistants, HCAs, ambulance and ancillary and clerical staff. It has 440,000 members, of whom it claims 140,000 are registered nurses,90,000 non-registered,90,000 admin and clerical and 60,000 ancillary. Women make up 79 per cent of the members and average age is 46.

MSF:65,000 health sector members, including 12,000 health visitors,2,000 CPNs and 1,000 hospital chaplains.

BMA:122,000 members covering 80 per cent of all UK doctors.