Thousands of nurses could go on strike in a dispute over pay, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said.
The threat of industrial action comes in protest of years of below inflation pay rises.
Members of the RCN voted overwhelmingly to support a ballot for industrial action on Sunday.
Another ballot would have to be held before any action is taken.
In the consultative ballot, nine out of 10 voiced support for action short of a strike while almost four out of five backed strikes.
More than 50,000 of the RCN’S members took part in the ballot, the Press Association reports.
The RCN’S annual conference in Liverpool today will discuss the next move.
The RCN has warned that low levels of pay are partly responsible for tens of thousands of unfilled nursing posts.
Nurses have suffered a 14% pay cut in real terms since 2010 because of a government cap on public sector pay, the RCN said.
A formal pay cap of 1% was introduced in 2015.
RCN general secretary Janet Davies has warned that years of pay cuts have left nurses struggling to make ends meet.