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RCN council will stand down following vote of no confidence

Five of the 17 current Council members will not be standing down.



RCN website

The Royal College of Nursing Council will stand down in December 2018.

Following a vote of no confidence during the EGM on Friday, the RCN Council is today announcing it will be standing down.

The RCN states that while the EGM vote of no confidence was advisory, the Council recognises the moral weight of the vote, and has acted accordingly.


Formal election processes will begin next week, with elections taking place as soon as possible and a new Council taking up office on 1st January 2019.  The current Council will remain in position until 31st December 2018 in order to provide a ‘transitional period’ for the College.

A detailed timetable for this process will be announced next week.

Some council members will not be standing down.

Five of the 17 current Council members will not be standing down following the vote of no confidence.

  • The President, Deputy President, and Student Council Member, whose terms come to an end on 31st December 2018.
  • The newly elected Council Member for the Eastern Region, who is yet to take up office.
  • The Chair of Congress (non-voting position), who joined Council in August 2018.

The RCN is currently seeking a permanent Chief Executive and General Secretary after Janet Davies resigned amid allegations the union “misrepresented” the NHS pay deal to its member in England.

Calls have been made by members on social media for Josie Irwin, the RCN’s Chief Negotiator for the pay deal, to also resign after an independent report highlighted significant failings.

Challenging times.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Acting Chief Executive and General Secretary, said: “The last two months have been some of the most challenging in the organisation’s history.  Our elected Council members have taken a difficult decision and have shown great personal integrity. I wish to thank Maria for her leadership and all Council members who gave loyal service.

“The College is already changing to ensure it engages the full breadth of its membership.  A new elected Council and a permanent Chief Executive and General Secretary will bring that fresh perspective and energy.”


UCAS accused of having an ‘outdated’ view on nurses

They describe the nursing role to prospective students as looking after people when they are sick or injured.



Student Nurse Lecture Theatre

UCAS describes nurses as providing “support to doctors and other medical staff”.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has been accused of having an “outdated” view on nurses after it described the profession as providing “support to doctors and other medical staff”.

UCAS describes the nursing role to prospective students as looking after people when they are sick or injured. Adding; “You’ll provide support to doctors and other medical staff, take blood and urine samples, and in some cases, you may carry out minor surgical procedures.”


Nurses, alongside a multitude of other healthcare professionals, have taken to social media calling for the description to be amended so it “adequately reflects nursing in the 21st century”. They also criticised the article for failing to highlight a large number of health promotion and research roles frequently undertaken by the profession.

BJ Walto, a senior member of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) commented that the description is “inaccurate, demeaning and totally misleading portrayal of nursing.”

Tom Wavlin, a Lecturer in Adult Nursing & Admissions Tutor at the University of Plymouth, suggested the description could instead read; “an autonomous practitioner of nursing who works closely with other healthcare professionals”.

In comparison, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) website reads; “Registered nurses play a vital role in providing, leading and coordinating care that is compassionate, evidence-based, and person-centred. They are accountable for their own actions and must be able to work autonomously, or as an equal partner with a range of other professionals, and in interdisciplinary teams.”

A spokesperson for UCAS said; “It’s clear that our current role profile for nurses doesn’t reflect the amazing work that nurses across the country do each day, and we welcome the feedback we’ve recently received.

“We want to make sure that students considering their future options have up-to date information about all different careers available to them.

“We’re currently updating all of our job profiles and are in touch with nursing experts to help us make sure that we better reflect the roles and responsibilities of nurses today.”

UPDATE (17/10/19 09:55): This article was updated to include a comment from UCAS.

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Professional Regulation

NMC launches an emotional support helpline for staff involved in fitness to practise cases

The helpline is part of the NMC’s bid to become a “person-centred” regulator.



Female with Telephone

The helpline will provide emotional and practical support for staff involved in the fitness to practise processes.

Nurses, midwives and nursing associates involved in fitness to practise can now benefit from a new, free and confidential support service.

The NMC’s Careline, operated by an independent provider, will provide emotional and practical support is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for nurses and midwives across the UK, and nursing associates in England, who are involved in the fitness to practise processes.


Staff can contact the service via phone, live chat or email, to discuss concerns with specially trained counsellors who are experienced in handling sensitive topics.

Launching less than a year since the NMC set up its support service for members of the public who raise concerns when things go wrong with their nursing or midwifery care, the 12-month CareLine pilot launched on World Mental Health day.

Becoming a ‘person-centred’ regulator.

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar at the NMC, said: “Following the launch last year of our Public Support Service for people affected by poor nursing or midwifery care, I’m really pleased we’re now able to offer this new pilot resource for professionals.

“The Careline marks another important step forward in truly humanising how we operate and becoming the person-centred professional regulator that the NMC is determined to be with everyone we interact with.

“Less than one per cent of around 700,000 professionals on our register are engaged in our fitness to practise procedures, but we know that it can have a profound effect on those that are. The impact on someone’s physical and mental wellbeing as a result of being under such scrutiny mustn’t go unrecognised.

“I hope the Careline, and our forthcoming remediation guidance, further encourages support and learning when things do go wrong in nursing and midwifery care. Together, let’s help ensure that all those involved in our processes are treated with kindness and respect.”

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