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RCN admits to making mistakes over NHS pay deal

The union has apologised and pledged to make ‘lasting changes’ to build a ‘closer connection’ with its members.

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RCN Voice of Nursing
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The Royal College of Nursing has admitted to making mistakes during the consultation over NHS pay.

In a letter to its members today, the Royal College of Nursing had admitted that the communication surrounding the pay deal fell short of the standards it’s members expect and has pledged to make lasting changes.

During the consultation over NHS pay, the RCN told all its members that they would receive a minimum of a 3% uplift in July – it has come to light that this statement was incorrect.

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The handling of the NHS pay deal is now subject to an independent external review.

Janet Davies has since resigned from her post as Chief Executive and General Secretary but calls have been made for wider change within the organisation as a ‘vote of no confidence’ in the union’s leadership is due to be debated at an extraordinary general meeting next month.

‘We told all members they would receive a 3% uplift’.

Earlier last month, Janet Davies, the outgoing Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing wrote to members apologising for the errors it made.

In a statement, Janet Davies said; “I wanted to write to you myself over the recent NHS pay deal. It has come to my attention in the last 24 hours that the deal was not as straightforward as we said and for that I offer you a sincere personal apology.

“I’m as dismayed and angry as you are and will fight the corner of members at every turn. In good faith, we told all members that they would receive a 3 per cent uplift this summer. I now find that this is not the case for everyone.

“I can assure you that I am demanding answers for you. In the meantime, I can only apologise for this unnecessary confusion and assure you that I am determined to resolve it. Your elected Council and Trade Union Committee will be meeting in the next few days and I will update you on next steps.”

‘Big changes at the RCN’.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Acting Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said; “As you may already be aware, there has been a change to the leadership team at the Royal College of Nursing, with Janet Davies, our Chief Executive stepping down.

“The RCN has begun an independent external review into the communication of the 2018 NHS pay deal to its membership, and an EGM is being held on 28 September in Birmingham for members to discuss the findings of the review. We will be publishing the review in full ahead of the meeting, as well as committing to implement its recommendations.

“Whatever the conclusions of the review, we already know that the RCN’s processes around the pay deal and its communication were not up to the standards that you the membership should expect. 

“The review period has also allowed us to take a broader look at the College’s structures and activities. Whilst I know there are many things that the College does well, I think there is much that could be improved – in particular around engaging with and listening to our members.

“In the next few weeks, we will be announcing some substantive and lasting changes to better connect the College with its members, and to make sure that we are working with you to deliver the services that you want and find most useful. 

“We are here to serve you – and in order to do that to our best ability, I think we need to listen better than we have been. This change begins now, and I assure you we are listening.”

Professional Regulation

NMC apologises after misleading Morecambe Bay investigators

Up to 19 babies and mothers died between 2004 and 2012 as a result of mistakes by staff.

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The regulator has apologised over how it handled a Fitness to Practice investigation.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has apologised over how it handled a Fitness to Practice (FtP) investigation following the tragic death of newborn Joshua Titcombe at Morecambe Bay.

The independent review by Verita was commissioned by the NMC after the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) raised concerns over how the regulator handled the fitness to practice investigation.

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The report was initially commissioned by Jeremy Hunt, the then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, after up to 19 babies and mothers died at the hospital between 2004 and 2012 as a result of mistakes by the staff of its maternity unit.

Jackie Smith, the former Chief Executive and Registrar of the NMC, resigned on the eve of the PSA report.

‘Incorrect and misleading statements’.

Investigators highlighted concerns over a chronology that was submitted as evidence by Joshua’s parents. They commented that they regulator failed to include the chronology in the evidence gathering process and also failed to “consider and understand the significance of this evidence and its relevance to a central issue in the case.”

The NMC then went on to make “incorrect and misleading statements” to Joshua’s parents, the PSA and the Secretary of State for Health about how it handled and reviewed the chronology.

Verita also commented that the regulator failed to treated witnesses “with the respect and sensitivity they deserved”.

Investigator on to recommend that the “NMC should make it a priority to ensure that it treats families and patients with respect and is honest and open with them” and “ensure that Panel Chairs are fully briefed about the importance of showing respect to bereaved relatives, perhaps by using this example as a case study.”

The total cost of Verita’s report was £151,742.22.

‘I am very sorry’.

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, the current NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “Throughout these fitness to practise cases the way we treated Mr Titcombe and his family was unacceptable. Our actions made an awful situation much worse and I am very sorry for that. I am also very sorry that our communications with Mr Titcombe, the PSA and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care contained incorrect and misleading information about our handling of this evidence.”

“This investigation highlights a number of failings at the NMC at that time. We did not properly understand the significance of this important piece of evidence, in particular to Mr Titcombe and his family, and we did not put it before the panel when we should have done. This reflected a culture at the NMC at that time that prioritised process over people.”

“Since the events at Morecambe Bay we have made significant changes, including much improved record keeping, the introduction of a new public support service, and additional training for panel members to help them better understand the needs of witnesses.

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Newsroom

Hospital charity launches Christmas gift appeal for patients

Those wishing to help the campaign can buy a gift or donate online.

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Send a smile

The Send a Smile with Santa campaign delivers presents to patients who are unable to celebrate Christmas at home.

A campaign to deliver more than 1,000 gifts for inpatients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Christmas Day has begun.

The N&N Hospitals Charity’s Send a Smile with Santa campaign delivers presents donated by the public to patients, both young and old, who are unable to celebrate Christmas at home with their families.

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Those wishing to help the campaign can choose an item from our Send a Smile with Santa list on Amazon or make a donation which will be used exclusively to purchase a gift.

Donations can also be dropped off by Sunday 8 December at the West Atrium Inpatient reception, Cromer Hospital, the Archant offices on Rouen Road, Norwich, and Greater Anglian Norwich Railway Station Customer Service.

The charity says that any donated presents should remain unwrapped so staff can ensure that presents are individually tailored for each patient, as well as protecting against potential infection.

‘Overwhelmed by kindness’.

Prof Nancy Fontaine, NNUH Chief Nurse, said: “We were overwhelmed by the kindness of people last year and we were able to deliver a lovely present to each of our patients.

“Nobody wants to spend time in hospital, and Christmas is so often a special time for people to be with family, and this is why we like to do something to make it a little nicer for our patients.

“We really hope that the people of Norfolk will once again support our appeal and help put a smile of the faces of our patients during the festive period.”

Louise Cook, Head of Fundraising at NNUH, added: “We know from our patients how lovely and unexpected it is to receive a gift on Christmas Day. They don’t need to be expensive gifts – toiletries, puzzle books, chocolates or socks are always greatly received.

“We have heard from people who would like to donate a gift but are unable to get out, so we this year we have an Amazon Wish List with small items which can be purchased and will be delivered directly to us, or a JustGiving page where a donation can be made and we will use that to purchase a gift for a patient.”

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