“This is a tragic day for nursing, it’s a tragic day for patients,” declared RCN boss, Pat Cullen, this morning, as up to 100,000 nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from Britain’s biggest nursing union stage their first ever nationwide strike.

Today is the first of a two day-long industrial action by the Royal College of Nursing with the second strike over pay and conditions set to take place in five days’ time. Interviewed on BBC Breakfast, Cullen added: “We need to stand up for our health service, we need to find a way of addressing those over seven million people that are sitting on waiting lists, and how are we going to do that? By making sure we have got the nurses to look after our patients, not with 50,000 vacant posts, and with it increasing day by day.”