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RCN Congress 2017: LIVE rolling news

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Keep up with everything happening at the RCN Congress 2017. Journalists from Nursing Times will be reporting live from Liverpool throughout the conference

4pm – The end of RCN congress 2017. See you next year.

3.55pm – Congress chair Stuart McKenzie reminds delegates that next year’s conference will be held in Belfast.

3.50pm – Congress chair Stuart McKenzie reveals the results of the agenda committee election results for next year. Those elected are:

  • Maureen Dolan
  • Samantha Spence
  • Greg Usrey
  • Stuart McKenzie

3.20pm – Last item of the day and of this year’s congress. It is on the emotic issue of disability benefits. The motion calls on the RCN to lobby the government to “urgently review” its “appalling” management of the benefits system.

Maureen Dolan tells congress she has carried out disability benefits and that it is based on a score system and it does not matter what day of the week that it takes place. It follows a previous speaker who claimed that private companies had quotas to get people off benefits and people assessed towards the end of the week were more likely to lose their benefits than those at the start.

The resolution is passed.

No. 21: Resolution submitted by the RCN Neuroscience Forum

That this meeting of Congress asks RCN Council to insist that the government urgently reviews its appalling management of disability benefits.

2.45pm – Penultimate item on the conference agenda is a discussion on assaults on nurses and other healthcare workers.

Many speakers recount their own personal experiences of being assaulted, often in mental health settings.

There is a suggestion by one delegate to turn the item into a resolution, but this does not happen due to time and complexity – I think.

No. 20: Matter for Discussion submitted by the RCN UK Safety Reps Committee

That this meeting of RCN Congress asks Council to lobby the government to amend existing legislation regarding the assault of health care workers.

2.15pm – The last session of debating begins at congress 2017. It’s about the divisive topic of sustainability and transformation plans. The Matter for Discussion is led by Sarah Seeley, from the RCN’s Suffolk branch. 

Ms Seeley discusses the perception that STPs have been drawn up “behind closed doors” and notes that there has not been much input from nurses in the process of drawing up STPs. “Knock on the doors, get involved, I have,” she urges delegates, highlighting that she has spoken to her local STP lead.

Congress veteran Tom Bolger says the RCN should give local briefings on STPs to councilors and other key local leaders. The RCN “should focus particularly on that over the next few weeks”, he says.

It is “essential and critical” that RCN members get involved with their STP, says RCN deputy president Rod Thomson. He suggests that local health and wellbeing boards are a potential way of doing this.

No. 19: Matter for discussion submitted by the RCN Suffolk Branch

That this meeting of Congress discusses the role of nurses in the development and implementation of Sustainability and Transformation Plans.

12pm – Time for another keynote speech. Dr Jane F McAlevey is a union and community organiser, educator and author.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2017

Jane F McAlevey

She is a post doctoral fellow at Harvard Law School. A longtime organiser in the environmental and labour movements, she is the author of No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age; and Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement.

She gives a tub-thumper of a presentation that gets congress up again, even though it’s the last day of the conference, and gets a standing ovasion – possibly a bigger one than Jeremy Corbyn.

She tells RCN members that to win disputes involves being able to “create a crisis” for an employer, for example, 90% of nurses in a hospital being prepared to go on strike. Nurses also need a “credible plan to win” when taking industrial action, she says, emphasising the need to stay confident.

To illustrate her points, she plays a short video of hospital nurses in Philidelphia striking in February this year, which resulted in them winning a new contract.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2017

Jane McAlevey

11.30am – Second debating session of the morning starts with the serious subject of people trafficking. Zeba Arif, from the Outer North West London Branch, presents the resolution.

She describes an example where a midwife encounters a pregnant young woman with an “over-bearing aunt”. Suspicious at the unusual relationship dynamic, the midwife arranges for an interpreter to attend. The girl turns out to be a servant and the aunt her employer. She has become pregnant after being sexually assaulted by the woman’s son.

As reported earlier today, all nurses in the UK are to get a free pocket guide to help them tackle modern slavery.

Dave Dawes highlights the vulnerability of migrant sex workers to being trafficked and taken advantage of through modern slavery.

Claire Picton, from the RCN Emergency Care Association, recounts another example, involving an older man and young woman presenting to give birth. The girl was 13 and being trafficked for sex work, and it was her second pregnancy; the man was the trafficker.

Unsurprisingly and importantly, the resolution is passed.

No. 18: Resolution submitted by the RCN North West London Branch

That this meeting of Congress urges RCN Council to campaign for robust systems that assist nurses to identify and support trafficked men and women.

10.25am – Back to something a bit more nurse-focused. a motion on compliance or lack of it with working time regualtions.

The proposers note that, under new plans, trusts will be fined when junior docs miss their meal break on 25% of occasions. They argue that “what’s good for doctors is good for the nursing staff and ultimately for the patients we care for”.

Congress hears from many speakers describing situations where they are unable or feel unable to take their breaks to eat or go to the toilet.

During the debate, one speaker also reveals that she works in London but lives in Liverpool due to being unable to afford accomodation in the capital.

The motion is ultimately passed “overwhelmingly”, notes vice chair of congress BJ Waltho.

  • Safety concerns over ‘barbaric’ shift patterns and lack of breaks – Nursing staff are frequently unable to take their breaks, are having to stay behind at the end of work and are being given “barbaric” rotas with back-to-back day and night shifts, which is putting both them and their patients at risk, it has been warned. Members of the Royal College of Nursing speaking at the union’s annual congress in Liverpool today said employers were largely to blame, because these practices were occurring due to their failure to deal with service pressures and staffing gaps

No.17: Resolution submitted by the RCN UK Safety Reps committee 

That this meeting of RCN Congress asks Council to challenge vigorously employers who fail in their duty to comply with working time regulations.

9.30am– We start the last day of conference with a resolution on a public health issue. The proposers argue that the RCN should not support any plans to make cycle helmets compulsory, in order to stimulate debate on the issue.

A number of speakers describe their personal experiences of where helmets have potentially saved the lives of themselves or their loved ones. But others cite research evidence that suggest wearing a helmet puts people more at risk due to how it alters driver behaviour.

An aborted attempt to change the working of the motion also follows, along with a few other speakers – including former RCN president Andrea Spyropoulos – asked for help in clarifying what they were being asked to vote on.

Nearly an hour later, congress agrees to change the item from a Resolution to a Matter for Discussion, so that RCN members do not need to take a vote on whether the college should have a policy position on cycle helmets. Relief all round the hall.

However, it should be noted that one highlight of the item was the appearance of a cute baby at the lecturn.

No. 16: Resolution, submitted by the RCN Dorset Branch

That this meeting of Congress asks RCN Council not to support any proposals to make the use of cycle helmets compulsory.

9am– Today’s RCN story to coincide with congress is the launch of a pocket guide to help nurses – especially in primary care and accident and emergency – identify patients they come into contact with who may be victims of modern slavery, and how to help them.

  • Nurses to get free ‘pocket guide’ to help tackle modern slavery – Nurses will receive a new guide to help spot victims of trafficking and address the lack of modern slavery awareness training in the NHS, the Royal College of Nursing has announced. The new guide – designed to fit in the uniform pocket – will be sent to nursing staff across the UK from today, after it was revealed that 86% of staff do not feel adequately trained on the issue.

Wednesday 17 May 2017

2.30pm– Afternooon session taken up with the RCN’s annual general meeting.

12pm– Congress was inspired by the story of keynote speakers Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn. Jonny Benjamin is a British mental health campaigner, author and vlogger. In January 2014 he launched a social media campaign called Find ‘Mike’ to search for the stranger who talked him out of taking his own life in 2008.

  • Call for ‘parity of esteem’ between mental and physical health– A mental health campaigner has urged the government to back the Royal College of Nursing’s call for “parity of esteem” for mental health with physical conditions at the union’s annual conference. Addressing the RCN congress, Jonny Benjamin MBE, who now campaigns to raise awareness of and improve services for mental health, said he could not believe that in 2017 there is still no parity of esteem.

11.48am – Another Matter for Discussion now. This time on the need for frontline staff to be aware of the needs of refugees and asylum seekers, their entitlements and particular health requirements.

No. 15: Matter for Discussion – RCN Grampian Branch

That this meeting of Congress discusses the health care provision for asylum seekers and refugees throughout the UK.

11.30am – Next session about to begin. Back to the discussion on whether accident and emergency departments should be able to turn away patients who have attended but who could be better dealt with elsewhere. Most speakers arguing against the idea, with several noting that A&E was a “successful brand”.

11am – And now back to the original agenda and a Matter for Discussion on emergency departments.

  • A&E pressures prompt nurses to consider ‘saying no’ to patients– Nurses are divided over whether emergency departments should be able to turn patients away, in the face of rising numbers of attendances and “winter pressures” now extending across the entire year. During a lengthy discussion at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress in Liverpool this week, some nurses said they believed accident and emergency services should be able to “say no” and signpost people to alternative services once they had been triaged.

No. 14: Matter for discussion – RCN Dorset Branch

That this meeting of Congress discusses whether Emergency Departments should be able to say no.

10.25am – To applause, the emergency resolution calling for Janet Davies to write a letter to Theresa May about her no-show at congress is voted onto the agenda and just as swiftly is passed without the need for debate. Wording of the motion is below:

That this meeting of RCN Congress deplores the contempt shown in the letter from the prime minster for the Royal College of Nursing and the nursing family, and asks the general secretary to reply to her in the strongest possible terms

  • PM accused of ‘contempt’ for RCN with congress no-show The prime minister has shown “contempt” to the Royal College of Nursing and nurses generally by not attending this year’s RCN annual conference, according to its members. Theresa May this morning confirmed she will not be attending RCN congress this week, despite the leaders of Labour and the Liberal Democrats both addressing delegates at the event yesterday.
  • RCN leader writes to PM on behalf of ‘disrespected’ congress– The Royal College of Nursing’s chief executive has written to the prime minister to reflect the “extreme dissatisfaction” felt over the lack of a Conservative speaker at its annual conference. Janet Davies, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said delegates at the college’s congress in Liverpool felt “disappointed, saddened and disrespected” by Theresa May’s decision not to attend.

9.56am – This should be a good one. Mike Travis, from the Liverpool and Knowsley Branch, puts the case for a resolution on fighting inappropriate use of Agenda for Change and calling for a review and re-banding of staff.

The motion is passed.

  • Nurses to ‘demand’ overhaul of Agenda for Change pay bands– Nurses are to campaign for a systematic re-banding of nursing jobs sitting within the NHS Agenda for Change (AfC) payscales, after raising concerns that they are increasingly working at a higher level than for which they are being paid. During a debate at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress in Liverpool on Tuesday, there were reports of staff taking on additional duties due to pressures on services and staffing shortages.

No. 13: Resolution – RCN Greater Liverpool & Knowsley Branch

That this meeting of Congress, in the light of pay restraint and downbanding, calls on RCN Council to demand a systematic re-banding of nursing jobs throughout the NHS under Agenda for Change.

9.51am– A request is made for an emergency resolution to reply to Theresa May’s letter and non-attendance at congress. The proposer claims she has shown the RCN and the nursing profession “contempt”. We shall see if the agenda committee back it for debate later.

9.30am – First item is a resolution on why a room or curtained off bit of accident and emergency should not be designated a place of safety for mental health patients in crisis. It is submitted jointly by the RCN Emergency Care Association and RCN Mental Health Forum.

The resolution is overwhelmingly passed, following a very balanced debate with many speakers arguing in favour that A&E should not be the place for taking mental health patients to in crisis and others saying that it is the only option at present.

  • A&E ‘unacceptable place’ for mental health patients in crisis– Accident and emergency departments must no longer be used as a “designated place of safety” for people experiencing a mental health crisis, because such environments cause distress and their staff do not have the specialist skills required, nurses have warned. At the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress in Liverpool today, nurses said patients in some cases had to wait up to 12 hours in “busy” and “chaotic” emergency departments until specialist crisis teams arrived to help them.

No. 12: Resolution – RCN Emergency Care Association and RCN Mental Health Forum

That this meeting of Congress asks RCN Council to lobby to ensure that Emergency Departments are no longer designated places of safety for the purposes of Mental Health legislation.

9.20am – RCN chief exec and general sec Janet Davies confirms that Theresa May will not be attending congress this year, reading out a letter from the prime minister’s office. Not a huge surprise, of course, but at least we now know. So no big political speeches today, which means we can get on with the main business of congress.

9.15am– We are off and running on Tuesday, despite the return of the rain outside. Council chair Michael Brown reminds the audience that the RCN annual general meeting will take place this afternoon. Hopefully it will be a smoother ride than last year – and a bit cooler.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2017

Michael Brown

8am– The college’s big story for the day is a report warning that children are being put ‘at risk’ from cuts to health visitor and school nurse roles. 

  • Children ‘at risk’ from cuts to public health nursing roles– Cuts to crucial school nurse and health visiting services are jeopardising the health of England’s children and young people, the Royal College of Nursing has warned. “Plummeting” numbers of both, combined with cuts to public health funding, were putting children’s health at risk, claimed the RCN in a new report published today.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

5.30pm – Following their speeches to congress earlier today, Nursing Times deputy news editor Nicola Merrifield was able to put several questions to Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron about their party’s election policies.

4.30pm – Slight change to the programme now. An emergency item on Brexit is to be tabled by Jason Warriner from the Public Health Forum. The main thrust of it being on the reliance of the NHS on European Union nationals as healthcare workers.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2017

Jason Warriner

No. 23E: Emergency item – Public Health Forum

That this meeting of RCN congress discusses the implications of Brexit following the triggering of Article 50.

3.26pm – That last item went on for a lot longer than council hoped, I think. Zeba Arif, from the Outer North West London Branch, introduces the next one, which is a Matter for Discussion.

Timely debriefing in healthcare is “essential” as it enhances the nurses and other team members’ ability to deal with traumatic events, as well as to challenge what happened during the shift, she tells delegates. It promotes “wellbeing and compassionate care”, she adds.

She references the 2009 Boorman report on health and wellbeing within the NHS – the findings and conclusions of which I personally think have been unwisely forgotten to some extent, largely as a result of the change of government the following year.

No. 11 – Nurse debriefing

That this meeting of Congress considers that nurse debriefing is crucial after each shift.

2.50pm – After a bit of discussion over procedure, we move on to the next item. The Lothian Branch’s Geoff Earl introduces a resolution on the rather broad subject of the “the NHS”.

Essentially, it is a debate on the threat of privatisation to the health service and whether the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will be back on the agenda post-Brexit. Andrea Spyropoulos from the Liverpool Branch seconds the motion.

A passionate and personal contribution is made by Lors Allford, vice chair of RCN council, in support of the resolution. 

Things have slowed down a bit, following an attempt to change the wording of the motion by June Clark, which was ultimately rejected by congress chair Stuart McKenzie.

We are underway again. Two older members of the college speak up in support of the motion.

Susan Reid, from the Derbyshire Branch, says she came to congress this year to call for support for the NHS, after having a successful aorta operation.

Congress veteran Ellen Cullen notes that she joined the NHS in 1949 and currently relies on the service to “get her toenails cut”.

A few more speakers and now it’s time for the vote after a summing up by Mr Earl. The NHS will survive for “as long as there are folk left to fight for it,” he says.

The resolution is passed, but with a few abstentions and againsts.

No 10: Resolution – the NHS

That this meeting of Congress believes that the NHS still provides the fairest method of providing health care across the UK.

2.15pm – We are back for the afternoon session with a discussion on wellness, following the excitement of thus morning’s political keynotes. Heather Henry leads the discussion.

No. 9: Matter for Discussion – Public Health Forum

That this meeting of Congress debates whether we are disabling our patients by focusing on illness rather than wellness.

12pm – Next up is Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, to put his party’s election pitch to congress.

Mr Farron claims the current government has a “narrative” of “treating nurses like dirt”, which is something he “will not stand for”.

He goes on to highlight the Lib Dem policy announcement from earlier today to increase nurse pay, as part of wider improvements for public sector wayes, while also revealing that his party would reinstate the student nurse bursary.

The Lib Dem leader moves on to discussing the dangers of a “hard Brexit” and coming out of the single market and recieves applause after saying that the UK turning its back on refugees “shames me” and the country.

Like Mr Corbyn earlier today, when asked by an RCN member, Mr Farron also commits to appointing a mental health minister if in power post the general election on 8 June.

On how he will fund his party’s NHS election pledges, he cites a total of £48bn of which £30bn will be extra raised by adding 1p on to income tax.

We need to “replicate and renew” the Beveridge Report for the future, he adds, citing the 1941 document drawn up by Liberal economist William Beveridge, which paved the way for the creation of the welfare state, including the NHS.


Liberal Democrats

RCN Congress 2017

Tim Farron gave a polished performance in Liverpool

Liberal Democrats

RCN Congress 2017

Tim Farron addresses RCN congress 2017

10.55am – Here’s a recap from last night’s fringe. Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu CBE gave the Mary Seacole annual lecture on Sunday evening.

The woman behind the erection of the Mary Seacole Statue at Guy’s and St Thomas’s in London has admitted that throughout the campaign to raise money she was often upset by the backlash on social media about the Jamaican Scottish nurse. Speaking at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress, Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu CBE told the audience that she often struggled when she read the comments on Twitter about Mary Seacole.

10.15am – Time for a keynote speaker. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses RCN congress.

Mr Corbyn reiterates Labour election pledges to bring back the student nurse bursary and get rid of the 1% cap on nurse pay rises, saying he wants the profession to be paid a “decent wage”.

Applause follows the pledge on pay. Even louder applause follows his repeating of the commitment to reverse the scrapping of the bursary for student nurses.

“There’s a mental health crisis in this country,” says Corbyn, and promises a “parity of esteem” with physical health under Labour.

“This election will define the future of the health service like no other has”, according to Mr Corbyn. The final version of the Labour election manifesto will be published tomorrow, he adds.

In the question and answer session after his speech, Mr Corbyn confirms that under a Labour goverment there would be a minister with a specific brief on mental health.

All of Labour’s election pledges are “fully funded and fully costed”, says Mr Corbyn. “We want to be a very responsible government,” he says.

Labour Party

RCN Congress 2017

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

9.53am – Tim Coupland from the RCN’s Dorset branch puts the case for the motion on “parity of esteem” between mental and physical health problems, in terms of access to services and quality of care. The situation is currently “shambolic”, he says.

After a debate interrupted by a keynote speech, the motion was “resoundingly” passed with no votes against and just two abstentions.

No.8: Resolution – Dorset Branch

That this meeting of Congress condemns the UK governments’ failure to deliver ‘parity of esteem’ and urges RCN Council to insist that this is addressed urgently.

9.43am – Ahead of Tim Farron’s speech at congress later today, the Lib Dems have announced an election pledge to end pay restraint for nurses by lifting the 1% cap on public sector pay and up-rating wages in line with inflation. The plans, which would also cover other public sector workers, would lead to an estimated salary increase of £527 a year for nurses by 2021, according to the party.

9.26am – Good morning. First resolution of the day is on the subject of nurses who develop dementia and how their career is usually immediately ended on diagnosis. It has been submitted by the RCN Older People’s Forum.

“We should show members what people with dementia can do not what they can’t do,” says Jason Warriner, from the RCN Public Health Forum, who is seconding resolution.

Quite a few people in the queues to speak on this one, despite the fact people are still coming into the hall. Everyone speaking in favour of the motion so far.

“How dare we not support our members with dementia”, says Gary Mitchell from the Older People’s Forum.

Mary Codling, from the RCN South East Region and a voting member, says she will be voting against the motion, based on her personal experiences of dementia. “Can you generalise” nurses with dementia through a single framework that would ensure patient safety, she asks.

Voting time: The motion is passed.

No. 7: Resolution – Older People’s Forum

That this meeting of congress urges RCN council to develop a strategy for supporting members with dementia to continue nursing.

Monday 15 May 2017

6.30pm –  Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron will be addressing congress tomorrow. The Conservatives are yet to confirm their attendance on the main stage, apparently, but the offer remains open. I seem to remember something similar happening with Andrew Lansley a while back, but at least he still showed up.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2017

Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron

5.20pm – We’ve gone back in time slightly. Next up is item No. 3, even though we’ve just done No. 4. Anyway, it’s on a similar subject, namely education and training. It’s another Matter for Discussion and has been submitted by the RCN Education Forum.

No. 3: That this meeting of congress discusses the impact of the reducing investment in the education and development of the nursing workforce across the UK.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2017

Discussion on education and development

2.50pm –  After the RCN council’s report to members on congress 2016, we move on to the first debate of the Sunday afternoon session. It’s presented by Jean Rogers, from the RCN UK Learning Representatives Committee, and highlights the failure of some trusts not to support mandatory training for nurses.

Interesting debate on whether nurses are actually getting mandatory training and, if so, how. For example, discussions over doing online training at home is acceptable or a “theft of nurses’ team”, as one speaker described it.

No. 4: That this meeting of congress discusses the risks of employers failing to support mandatory and statutory training.

1pm – It’s lunchtime and also an opportunity to have a quick look at the Mersey in the sunshine.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2017

The Mersey viewed from the ACC

12.45pm– First keynote speech of RCN Congress 2017 is naturally given by the college’s chief executive and general secretary Janet Davies.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2017

Janet Davies

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2017

Janet Davies

12.20pm– A resolution on the new education standards being drawn up by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which was submitted by the RCN Greater Liverpool and Knowsley branch, was rejected.

No 2: That this meeting of congress urges the Nursing and Midwifery Council to reduce student nurses’ clinical placement hours in line with international comparators.

9.40am – In a change to the expected programme, the first resolution of this year’s congress was on action over pay, with members voting in favour of a “summer of protests”. The item was proposed by RCN council chair Michael Brown. Many members took to the stage to express their anger over the continuation of the 1% cap on NHS nurse pay rises.

That this meeting of RCN Congress following the result of the pay poll, calls for a summer of planned protest activity, followed by an industrial action ballot should the next Westminster government fail to end of the policy of pay restraint.

In a session full of strong quotes, this one stood out for me: “They call us angels and superheroes and then treat us like dirt”.

  • RCN promise ‘summer of protests’ over 1% cap on NHS nurse pay rises– Members of the Royal College of Nursing have overwhelmingly voted to support “ a summer of planned protest activity, followed by an industrial action ballot, should the next Westminster government fail to end the policy of pay restraint”. Only two members voted against the motion and there were only four abstentions in a vote where every single nurse who took to the lectern spoke in favour of the motion.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2017

Resolution on pay and action

9.30am– The main session of RCN congress 2017 kicked off with the announcement of the results of the college’s consultation on whether to take industrial action over pay. Over 52,000 members took part, with the majority in favour striking and demonstrating the depth of feeling among many nurses on the issue. However, at 19% turnout it was not high enough to force a formal ballot.

  • RCN strike poll falls short of number needed to force formal ballot – Nearly 80% of nurses who voted in the Royal College of Nursing’s consultation on industrial action over pay would support a strike, but the number that took part was too few to force a formal ballot. According to the results of the three-week consultation, 78% of RCN members are prepared to strike over the government’s ongoing policy of NHS pay restraint.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN promises ‘summer of protests’ over pay restraint

RCN Congress 2017 in Liverpool on Sunday

00.01am Sunday 14 May 2017: The Royal College of Nursing has kicked off this year’s congress by putting out a major report on safe staffing levels, including FOI results and a survey of nursing directors.

  • Laws on safe nurse staffing laws needed across UK, says RCN – NHS patients across the UK will be at risk of falling care standards unless all four countries have legislation to guarantee safe staffing levels, according to the Royal College of Nursing. The RCN said it was making the call for safe staffing to be enshrined in law – the first time it has done – because of a “lethal cocktail” of factors that was creating record nursing vacancies.

Saturday 13 May 2017: Newly-elected Manchester mayor and former Labour health secretary Andy Burnham addressed RCN members on Saturday evening, ahead of the start of official congress business on Sunday. He used the opportunity to outline a student nurse bursary payment plan, in response to the government’s controversial decision to introduce loans in England.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2017

Arena and Convention Centre (ACC), Liverpool

Nursing Times journalists will be reporting live from the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress in Liverpool. We’ll be here until the end on Wednesday evening. Come and say hello or follow us on Twitter: @nursingtimesed @steveJFord @nic_merrifield

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