NURSES in Devon are set to go on strike from 8am today, Thursday, in the largest action of its kind in NHS history.

Staff will continue to provide ‘life-preserving’ and some urgent care but routine surgery and other planned treatment is likely to be disrupted.

The Royal College of Nursing says staff had been given no choice after ministers refused to reopen pay talks.

The RCN is calling for a rise of 5% above the RPI inflation rate, which is currently above 14%.

That would mean more than a 19% pay rise, which the government has said is unaffordable.

The action will involve nurses in around a quarter of hospitals and community teams in England, all health boards in Northern Ireland and all but one in Wales. Nurses are not striking in Scotland.

The second strike will take place in five days’ time – on 20 December.

The NHS in Devon has been contacted for an update on the situation.