Nursing union head appointed to NHS Trust board of directors

Dame Donna Kinnair will assume the role on 1 January 2021.

James McKay
5 December 2020
Dame Donna Kinair

The role provides strategic direction, leadership, and management of the Trust.

The head of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has been appointed to the board of directors of a London NHS Trust.


In what is thought to be a first, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair has been appointed as a non-executive director to the board of East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT).

According to a tweet from the trusts, she will assume the role on January 1 and it is believed that Dame Donna will undertake this role in addition to her current appointment at the RCN.

The announcement reads; “Chair Mark Lam welcomes Richard Carr as a non-executive director to the [East London NHS Foundation Trust] who started on December 1st and Dame Donna Kinnair, Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, who’ll be joining us as a [non-executive director] from January 1st”.

According to the trust’s website, non‐Executive directors are members of the Trust’s board of directors who contribute to the strategic direction, leadership, and management of the Trust.


Inconsistent and unfair.

A recent advert reveals that the post pays around £430 per day with a commitment of 3 days per month.

Nurses United UK, whose senior members were recently banned from holding key roles within the RCN citing conflicting interests, has condemned the appointment saying there is no “precedent”.

Former RCN Assistant General Secretary and Convenor for the group’s leadership team Tom Bolger responded to the news; “I am surprised that RCN Council has agreed to the General Secretary taking up a position as a non-executive of an NHS employer.”

“It comes in the same week that the RCN has banned officeholders and staff from Nurses United, a campaign organisation, from holding any office in the RCN.


Mr. Bolger continued he believed the appointment was “inconsistent and unfair.”

A Royal College of Nursing spokesman confirmed the news and said: “Council are aware of the appointment and are supportive. When the role is taken up in January, it will be declared.”

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