YouGov research for Royal College of Nursing (RCN) asked 1,009 people in Scotland earlier this year a variety of health questions NHS and their position relative to possible strikes.

The RCN of Scotland is among the unions pushing for a pay rise agreement, which will see members vote on potential industrial action.

The survey found that 10 per cent of respondents said they had avoided NHS services many times in the past year when they were unwell, 22 per cent had done so several times and 12 per cent reported never seeking treatment.

A nurse holds the hand of an elderly woman

Some 47 per cent of those who avoided the NHS said they were worried about long waits, 42 per cent were worried it would increase pressure on the health service and 27 per cent reported they knew how to treat themselves.

The survey also issued a stark warning Govt over mass action, with the vast majority of respondents saying they would be sympathetic to a strike by nurses.

About 50 percent of respondents said they would have “a lot of sympathy” for striking nurses, while 28 percent said they would have “a fair amount.”

Only 17 percent said they would have little or no sympathy.

When asked whether they would support a strike by nurses, 42 percent said they would “strongly support” the action, while another 27 percent said they were “inclined to support” it.

A total of 22 percent said they would oppose the action to some extent.

The Scottish Government made a formal offer to the unions late last week in negotiations that continued into the early hours of Friday.

As part of the deal, NHS Agenda for Change staff, which only exclude doctors, dentists and senior health managers, will receive a flat rate increase of £2,205 from April.

The survey also found that 78 percent of respondents said they would support raising nurses’ wages in line with inflation, with only 12 percent opposed and 62 percent saying they would support an above-inflation proposal, with 26 percent opposed.

RCN Scotland asked for an offer equivalent to inflation plus 5 per cent, which would mean an increase of at least 15 per cent.

While the Minister of Health Humza Yousaf announced its biggest pay offer since devolution, unions described it as a “kick in the teeth” and RCN Scotland said its industrial action vote would go ahead.

RCN Scotland director Colin Pullman said: “Strike action is always a measure of last resort.

“What has come to this shows how much our members care about the safety of their patients, how undervalued and demoralized they feel and how frustrated they are by the Scottish Government’s continued failure to listen and act.

“Our members benefit from the support of the public who are seeing the devastating impact the nursing shortage is having on the care they and their families receive.

“The Scottish Government must do better to ensure Scotland has the nursing workforce it needs.”