The nurses’ strikes are over after the union failed to reach the threshold necessary for further union action to proceed.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) had voted its members for a second time to hold strikes until Christmas after rejecting the government’s pay offer.
The union had tried a risky strategy of holding an “overall vote”, which meant that half of all nurses had to vote and the majority had to agree to strike.
Had the vote been successful, it could have led to strikes at every hospital in England.
While a majority of nurses took part in the vote-backed strike, only 43 percent of members took part — short of the required 50 percent participation.
The previous vote had been conducted on a confidence basis, meaning that votes in areas with high levels of union support were enough to secure strikes.
The situation is especially embarrassing for Pat Cullen, the RCN’s general secretary, who initially supported the government’s five per cent wage offer before calling for strikes until Christmas after its members rejected it.
The deal for over a million NHS staff has already been put in place, with nurses receiving a pay rise this month backdated to April, as well as a one-off bonus of at least £1250 for last year.
So far, NHS strikes have resulted in more than 650,000 appointments and surgeries being cancelled.
Young doctors will take part in the longest strike in NHS history next month, with a five-day strike from Thursday 13 July to Tuesday 18 July.
The strikes could come days before consultants strike on June 20 and 21 if their vote, which closes at the end of this month, is successful.