Dame Donna Kinnair, the Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, claims she was told by the Government to “bring your membership under control” as they feared the nursing voice is getting “too loud”.
The College is currently campaigning for safe staffing legislation to be introduced in England after nurses and support workers in Scotland secured new legislation on safe staffing and a nurse staffing law was introduced in Wales in 2016.
Speaking during the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) Annual Conference in London, Dame Donna Kinnair recalled a conversation with a government official.
She said: “What they said was ‘Donna, you’ve got to bring your membership under control’. “They said ‘you’ve got to bring your membership under control because their voice just might get too loud”.
Dame Donna later added; “I cut my teeth as an activist” and proclaimed that it was important to fight “for the rights of patients and also of nurses and delivering good care to those patients.”
Explaining that to ensure the voice of nurses is “amplified”, nurses must share their stories, problems and concerns with the union she added; “my pledge to you is that I will continue to amplify your voices and in return, I ask you to share your voices and your stories with me so that we can collectively be a unified profession”.
We have approached the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.