Midwives and paramedics from Hinchingbrooke Hospital staged a four-hour strike over pay today (Monday).

Hinchingbrooke Hospital picket line, Jannette Andrews.Hinchingbrooke Hospital picket line, Jannette Andrews.

As part of nationwide demonstrations by Unison, the NHS staff set up official picket lines outside the hospital which is run by private firm Circle.

A total of 11 protestors, made up of midwives, Unison members and supporters, stood strong in wet and windy conditions outside the main entrance while five ambulance crew members picketed along the main road.

The protests come as a reaction to a one per cent pay rise only available to about 30 per cent of staff set out by the Department of Health.

Jo Rust, regional organiser for Unison, said: "This pay offer, which fails to recognise the huge personal price that NHS workers pay to support the NHS is a slap in the face. Staff at Hinchingbrooke and everywhere within the NHS deserve better and the patients agree."

Hinchingbrooke Hospital picket line, paramedics holding their plaquards.Hinchingbrooke Hospital picket line, paramedics holding their plaquards.

The offer has been made available to NHS workers who are at the top end of their pay band, which Unison says denies the increase to the majority of staff.

Mrs Rust said an increasing number of NHS workers are seeking benefits while in work and national statistics show around 35,000 of them earn below the living wage of £7.65.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "We are disappointed that trade unions are taking industrial action and have rejected our proposals to give NHS staff at least one per cent additional pay this year and at least a further one per cent next year.

"NHS staff are our greatest asset, and we've increased the NHS budget to pay for over 12,500 more clinical staff since 2010. We cannot afford a pay rise in addition to increments - which disproportionately reward the highest earners - without risking frontline jobs."

Ruth Davies, who chairs the Unison's water, environment and transport service group, said: "All Unison members deserve a fair pay rise. The NHS Independent Pay Review Body recommended a one per cent increase for all, yet now - as a result of a government decision - 60% of nurses and midwives are facing no pay increase this year."