Francis response: Ministers back idea that RCN should split in two
The government has said it believes the Royal College of Nursing would be stronger if it split its role as a union from that of being a college.
The Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trusts called on the RCN to consider whether it should “formally divide” its royal college functions and its trade union functions between two bodies, rather than behind what it labelled internal “Chinese walls”.
The government said today it also believed the separation of the RCN’s professional and union roles “would enhance the authority of its work, so that those outside the profession would know when they were speaking in the interests solely of patients and when they were speaking solely in the interests of their members”.
The RCN has previously considered and rejected the Francis report recommendation, arguing that it is stronger as one organisation.
As an independent, non-statutory organisation, the college cannot be forced to change its structure by the government.
Nonetheless the acceptance of the recommendation brings the college more unwanted attention surrounding its own local failures to act over Mid Staffordshire, when it would rather focus on national issues like staffing levels and healthcare assistants.
The government’s full response to the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust was published today.
In its response report – Hard Truths: the journey to putting patients first – the government has accepted 281 of the 290 recommendations made by the Francis report in February.
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