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RCN Congress 2019: LIVE rolling news

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Keep up with everything happening at the RCN Congress 2019. Journalists from Nursing Times will be reporting live from Liverpool throughout the conference

Thursday 15:35: As RCN congress 2019 comes to an end chair BJ Waltho pays thanks to everyone involved.

Members also thank chair BJ Waltho with a standing ovation.

Thursday 15:10: Final resolution of congress is lead by Carmel O’Boyle from the greater Liverpool and Knowsley Branch.

Resolution 23: That this meeting of Congress urges RCN Council to review the functions and structures of RCN boards and branches to promote and encourage members to engage with the RCN.

Ms O’Boyle asks congress what can be done to encourage members to speak out and get involved. She says she is mindful that working in the healthcare profession can cause time constraints which in turn can prevent member engagement, as well as geographical locations and travel. Ms O’Boyle finishes her speech by saying she wants to give a fresh perspective on the matter today and ”spark some magic” for member engagement. She says she looks forward to hearing people’s views on the topic.

One member flags up the fact that when discussing member engagement it is a shame to see a lack of members in the main hall. He notes that some people had to leave or were told to. He says he hopes Council take this on board for the future.

Michael Lawton from greater Bristol branch flags the benefits of digital technologies which he uses as a nurse on the wards. In this he says the college could benefit from the same technologies. He suggests that the use of smart phones and apps to be invested in to help boost communication.

Student nurse Craig Davidson highlights the need to encourage student engagement in branch meetings. He says council needs to look at things like live streaming meetings and working around placements.

Chair BJ asks members to get their voting slips out for the last time. Not unanimous, but it is passed.

Thursday 14:50: It’s now time for a matter of discussion about safety culture submitted by the RCN Safety Reps’ Committee.

Matter for discussion 22: That this meeting of Congress discusses the importance of raising awareness of safety culture and in doing so enhancing workplace culture. 

Ali Upton is leading the discussion. Ms Upton flags up the RCN’s UK campaign for safe staffing legislation. She tells members that a positive safety culture would recognise the importance of staffing levels as a critical control measure that impacts significantly on individual performance and patient outcomes.

Charlotte Hall from the Gloucester branch says she will fight for staffing legislation till the very end, but asks members what the short-term plan is. Help is needed right now, she says. She pleads with members to consider what can be done going forward by supporting the motion.

Thursday 14:22: Outer north west London branch member Zeba Arif now leads a resolution on loneliness.

Resolution 21: That this meeting of Congress asks RCN Council to engage with governments across the UK on the National Strategy on Loneliness in order to improve the ability of nursing staff to recognise loneliness and its effects. 

Ms Arif flags that loneliness affects both mental and physical health and can be more harmful than obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It affects people of all ages, she says. She highlights that an additional strain is placed on services when the impacts of loneliness are left untreated.

Annique Simpson, outer south-east London branch, says just because it is not a ”visible gaping wound” it shouldn’t be ignored. She tells members that she wants the council to work on this at a national level. 

Karen Hampson says “I am lonely and I’m a nurse of 30 years.” In a moving and emotional speech Ms Hampson tells members that all her family have died and so she suffers from loneliness. She says this is her first congress and now she feels that she may have found a new family. ”I have no statistics but please support this motion, because I am here because of you,” she says while pointing to the crowd and holding back tears.

The resolution is passed. 

Thursday 14:09: Discussions and debates for resolution E29 around learning disabilities has re-started.

Member Victoria Cordwell tells members she couldn’t even watch the programme on panorama last night. She urges everyone to support the motion and adds ”they are vulnerable people and we have to make them okay”.

Member Gemma Rafferty says: ”Why are we even debating this in 2019, how many times does it take, how many more people have to die before we do something, you have to support this.”

Chelsey Johnson, south east inner London member reads a poem to congress. As part of the poem she reads, “Please ask me for my hospital passport and look whilst I wait. If you could meet all theses needs that would be great.

“Remember I may not be able to tell you what is wrong or when I’m in pain.

“I may have reduced intellectual abilities but inside I’m just like you,” she finishes while asking everyone to support the motion.

Mr Beebee, leading the motion, says he feels “really moved” having listened to everyone speak on the resolution.

Congress is now asked to vote. Chair BJ stands to count. From where she is standing, she tells members, “that is absolutely unanimous,” marking the first time it’s happened this week, she notes.

Thursday 14:07 Chair announces some changes have been made to the seating arrangements to make the discussions and debates more accessible for anyone who is disabled.

Thursday 14:00: Everyone takes to their seats again following lunch.

Thursday 12:47: Next up is an emergency resolution about safeguarding the human rights of people with learning disabilities.

Resolution E29: That Congress calls upon RCN Council to lobby government organisations across the UK to take urgent action that safeguards the human rights of people with learning disabilities.

Jonathan Beebee from the Learning Disability Nursing Forum is leading the resolution.

Members have raised last nights panorama which Mr Beebee described as a small dark corner of learning disability care.

Paul Watson from the Humber branch said he was “shocked and stunned” at the programme. 

A call has been made for autism to be added into the resolution. This has been seconded. Mr Beebee says he is happy to include autism.

Jim Blair, inner north central London branch member, now takes to the stand. It’s a human health right to have your health needs met, he says. It is diagnostic overshadowing that is the hidden and big killer, he adds. 

Congress now breaks for lunch with 10 minutes left on the clock for this debate.

Thursday 12:25: An emergency matter of discussion about climate change is now underway.

Matter for discussion 19: That this meeting of RCN Congress discusses climate emergency and how we can achieve a low carbon economy in healthcare.

Gwendoline Vardigans from the north Yorkshire branch leads the discussion, and notes the current action that has been taken so far to tackle the issue.

Climate change is the biggest threat to our lives, she warns congress. The NHS is a large organisation that should be setting an example to reduce waste and increase recycling and utilise green energy, Ms Vardigans tells members.

Next to the stand is member Craig Davidson who says he is disappointed that this is being dealt with as a matter for discussion and not a resolution. Nurses should be leading social change, he says.

We’re in a climate emergency and as students we are asking to fund our future but there’s going to be no future to fund, he warns members.

Mr Davidson has now taken to the point of order stand to ask for the matter to be changed to a resolution to “call on RCN council to acknowledge the climate emergency declared by the UK government and lobby healthcare providers to develop policies and strategies that are environmentally sustainable”.

Congress votes for the change and Mr Davidson officially announces the change at the main debating stand.

Quite a sea of green, but not all. The resolution is passed.

Thursday 12:05: From the Suffolk branch, Sarah Seeley is now leading the next motion around personal care. 

Resolution 20: That this meeting of Congress calls on RCN Council to lobby the governments across the UK and all social care providers to recognise that personal care is nursing. 

The nursing profession has not been proactive in describing itself clearly meaning it is often wrongly seen as a series of tasks, says Ms Seeley.

Personal care is currently being prescribed by people who don’t have the appropriate knowledge base, she says.

After plenty of discussion the resolution is passed.

Thursday 11:50: Concerns raised by disabled nurses about the lack of accessibility in the debating chamber. Lots of discussion about the lack of roving microphones for those who are in wheelchairs. Chair BJ apologises and assures members that points raised will be taken further and are written “in her book”. Members seen leaving the main hall and Danielle Tiplady comes to the point of order stand to inform congress that members are now in tears outside.

Thursday 11:20 Chair welcomes back members for the second round of resolutions and discussions of the day. Member Graham Revie has taken to the stand to lead an emergency motion.

Resolution E30: That this meeting of RCN Congress calls for an immediate and independent review of governance and decision making in order to support the future endeavours of Council, Trade Union Committee and Professional Nursing Committee.

“An independent review to facilitate the RCN will help to continue the road to recovery,” says Mr Revie. He described the topic as the elephant in the room.

Member Liz Anderson says this isn’t about individuals it’s about process. ”We have to secure the future of this mighty college,” she says. “We have to support the council and commit to those who stick their head about the parapet. 

One member takes to the point of order stand to call for a change in the wording from ”independent” to “objectivity”. This is seconded.

In reply Mr Revie says that the ”independence” might bring some action that hasn’t taken place so far. 

Lots of arguments for and against the wording “independent” review. Concerns on whether taking independent out of the wording will mean the review would be internal as opposed to external.

Chair BJ says she will not put a vote to change the wording. She says the wording will stay as it is. Chair BJ has also implemented the 1 minute rule to help with timings. The debate continues.

Member Ian Norris says: ”We need safe and effective processes, processes that enable us to move forward.”

Billy Nicholls from the UK safety reps committee says the AGM on Monday ”proved the point that nobody knows what’s going on”.

Member Ali Upton, says the lack of interaction between the committee reminds her of chinese whispers that she once played at school as a child. 

Paediatric intensive care nurse Dan Gooding says a review shouldn’t be carried out for “reviews sake” but for the ”confidence of members again”.

Motion lead, Mr Revie thanks members for a very healthy debate and says his visions of this are for clarity of the role.

The debate has ended and now it’s put to a vote.

The motion is passed.

Thursday 10:20: Outer north west London member Zeba Arif takes to the stand to present a resolution about sexual harassment.

Resolution 19: That this meeting of Congress calls on RCN Council to lobby employers to set up systems to protect healthcare professionals from sexual harassment by patients or their families or friends. 

She tells congress that sexual harassment by patients is often brushed aside. Ms Arif talks to delegates about a story she heard about a nurse being put to blame when she was followed to her car and harassed by a patient. There was no policy in the trust to deal with the instance, Ms Arif says. 

She calls for sexual harassment to be recognised as traumatic and wants the impact that sexual harassment can have on the delivery of nursing care to be understood.

As part of the resolution, Ms Arif says she wants to see training to ensure nursing staff feel confident to report sexual harassment.

Helen O’Boyle, inner north central London branch member speaks to congress about the concept of the nurse uniform and it being sexualised by the public. She says she thinks nurses are still seen as objects.” My uniform isn’t sexy. When I’m in my uniform, I’m a professional and caring for patients,” she says.

First to speak against the resolution, Linda Bailey says that this resolution is covered in the law. She says if you’re assaulted phone 999. She asks why is it so specific to patients. She also asks why it’s just about sexual harassment. We need a decent bullying and harassment policy, she says. “Don’t pass this as it sends the wrong messages to the general public,” she says.

Many references to uniforms from speakers so far and how they are sexualised.

Another member, Annique Simpson, says yes it is in law but she would like RCN to lobby employers to support staff if it happens.

Student member, Craig Davidson raises a point of order to change the wording to protect staff from sexual harassment by “all” not just patients or their families and friends.

Ms Arif, leading the motion, rejects the point of order and wants it to stay as patient specific.

When put to a vote Chair BJ announces the resolution is passed.

Thursday 9:20: North Yorkshire member Gwendoline Vardigans presents the first resolution of the day around rural healthcare.

Resolution 12: That this meeting of Congress asks RCN Council to lobby governments across the UK for better rural healthcare provision. 

Ms Vardgians highlights how healthcare funding is allocated by population headcount rather than size of the area and therefore thinly populated rural areas were suffering.

Marie Rogers, a district nurse in South Cumbria, says her country is the third largest in England but the second least populated.

She adds she has patients who are travelling 140-mile round trips five days a week for up to six weeks to recieve radiotherapy. 

Student nurse Laura Bird says people in rural Norfolk were dying because the ambulances can not get to them in time. 

“People are still dying becaue of where they live in 2019,” she warns. 

Many members raise concerns about poor technology, broadband and public transport in rural areas. 

The resolution is passed. 

Thursday 9:00: Quite a few empty seats as the final day of Congress gets underway.

congress last day

congress last day

Source: Emap

Last day of RCN Congress 2019

Wednesday 17:30: In her closing remarks for the day, chair of council BJ Waltho says tomorrow’s keynote speaker Julia Unwin is now unable to attend. 

Wednesday 17:15: Greater Liverpool and Knowsley branch member Mike Travis introduces a matter for discussion on the role of the NHS Staff Council in delivering fair and adequate pay.

Northern Irish nurse Lyndsay Thomson says the current processes are not working for nurses in her country.

She highlighted the pay inequalities for nurses in Northern Ireland and said if she did her job in Scotland she would get £3,360 more a year, and £2,752 more in England and Wales. 

Scottish support worker in mental health, Evan Kier, says he gets paid the same as domestic staff despite holding a daily caseload of patients and carrying out one-to-one observations, which requires continuous training. “This system we have in place does not work,” he says.

Wednesday 16:50: Helen Oatham from the Norfolk branch introduces a matter for discussion on resilience and whether it it always a postive attribute.

Student nurse Gemma Rafferty says she has been told during her traiing that she needs to be more resilient but she interpretated this as she shouldn’t show when she is struggling. She now finds it increasingly difficult to ask for pastoral or mental health support. 

Powerful words from member Mark Boothroyd who believes the resilience narrative is “victim blaming”.

He calls on members to reject the resilience agenda, adding: ”Let’s campaign to change the toxic, unsafe system we work in before it kills us.”

Manchester Central member Katie Sutton says she fears resilience is becoming a cause for burnout rather than a means of preventing it.

Vicky Keir says the problems that are causing nurses to need resilience need to be tackled. 

Wednesday 16:45: Katie Sutton, from the Manchester Central branch, asks council and members to be considerate with pronouns and to use ‘they’ in the first instance.

London member Danielle Tiplady raises a point of order because some members were heard ‘booing’ during the discussion on pronouns. She urges: “We wouldn’t treat our patients like that so we shouldn’t do it to each other.”

Wednesday 11:40: The next resolution to be debated is on period poverty which was submitted by the RCN Women’s Health Forum.

Resolution 11: Period poverty: That this meeting of Congress calls upon Council to lobby governments across the UK to end period poverty.


ncircn congress 2019 period poverty

RCN Congress 2019

RCN congress debate period poverty resolution

Ruth Bailey from the forum is leading the motion. 

As part of the resolution, the forum recognises that NHS in England committed to providing free sanitary products to women and girls being cared for in hospitals - NHS England pledges free tampons for all inpatients who need them

Ms Bailey also referenced the Welsh Government’s £1m pledge to help address period poverty.

Speaking to congress, Ms Bailey says nurses are ”perfectly placed” to address the problem, as well as the taboos attached to periods. She says nurses can help to ensure dignity for their patients and to advocate too.

Student nurse, Sophie Gill, talks about period poverty from a cultural perspective. She says this is not just a call for free products but for “competence and awareness amongst us all”.

Chair mentions to members that there is a free donation box here in congress for sanitary and shower products and calls on nurses to donate.

Another student nurse, Aimie Morgan says what she is about to say may be “controversial”. She tells members she can’t understand why people aren’t able to pay 95p for a large box of tampons in places like Tesco. She asks if it’s a problem with universal credit. As a student, Ms Morgan says she is skint, but has always got her own sanitary products because having something is better than nothing.

One member, Amy Stirton, takes to the stand to tell congress about a time that she helped a student nurse who approached her and didn’t know what to do because in her culture periods were seen as a taboo. Ms Stirton said that whilst on shift she searched the wards to find the student some sanitary products but there weren’t any. Ms Stirton explains how she then had to go to her own bag to give the student some of her own sanitary items. ”This shouldn’t be happening and it needs to end,” she says.

Despite mixed debates it’s clear that nurses want action to be taken in regards to period poverty. The resolution has been passed. 

Wednesday 11:31: Congress takes a moment to pay tribute to the victims of those who were killed in the Manchester Arena attack two years ago today. Members stand and clap to the sound of Ariana Grande’s One Last Time.

Wednesday 10:24: Members are now hearing from Nykona Hamilton from the Fife branch. She is leading an emergency matter for discussion into mandatory vaccinations.

Matter for discussion E18: Mandatory vaccinations: Discuss mandatory vaccination for children before attending school. 

So far there have been mixed opinions on whether children should be vaccinated before school. One member says that even though both her grandsons have been vaccinated, it should be a choice.

Another member, Emily Stevens who is a student nurse, speaks up for those who are home-schooled. “I was home-schooled and so you have to talk to my people too,” she says. She added that members should not shy away from engaging children in the conversation too.

It now seems there are more speakers against the idea.

One member highlights how expensive mandatory vaccinations are in terms of legal costs, flagging that they are hard to police.

Another raises concerns over children that can’t be vaccinated due to medical conditions.

Back to the lead speaker for the debate, Ms Hamilton, who says she is pleased this discussion has taken place. She finishes by highlighting that she has been able to talk to a health visitor about the matter. She says that’s what people need. People must be made comfortable before they make a decision on vaccination, she says.

Wednesday 09:52: The next resolution, lead by Maggy Heaton from the RCN Lancashire West branch, discusses bullying.

rcn congress 2019 bullying

RCN Congress 2019

RCN Congress resolution about bullying

Resolution 10: Bullying: That this meeting of Congress condemns the failure by governments across the UK to introduce legislation to prevent bullying in the workplace and urges RCN Council to insist that this is addressed urgently. 

Ms Heaton tells congress that nurses must take collective responsibility for behaviour in healthcare organisations.

An RCN employment survey in 2017 found that one third of nursing staff across the NHS and independent sector said that they had experienced bullying or harassment from colleagues in the last 12 months, with Black African/Caribbean and disabled nursing staff more likely to report this. 

Ms Heaton says she looks forward to a lively discussion.

As she steps off the stage many members get in line to have their say.

Powerful speech from one member, Coleen White, who calls on congress to “help others to help ourselves”. “That’s our core as a nurse,” she adds.

Kevin Crimmons says he is ashamed to hear of student stories. “Please call them by their name, not ’the student’” he pleads.

Not enough time for everyone to have their say on the stands.

The resoultion was passed.

Wednesday 09:21: The first resolution of the day gets underway.

Rhian Wright from the RCN Cardiff and the Vale branch is leading a resolution about child poverty.

Resolution 9: Child Poverty: That this meeting of Congress calls on RCN Council to lobby government across the UK to provide adequate resoirces to deal with the rising levels of child poverty.

UK child poverty affects more than 4 million children or nine in a classroom of 30 explains Ms Wright.

rcn congress 2019 child poverty

RCN Congress 2019

Resolution for child poverty

“Children growing up in poverty are more likely to experience health problems,” says Ms Wright.

In the long term addressing this issue will help to ease some of the burden on the NHS, she tells congress.

In a final point, Ms Wright says, “Our children are the future of this country and we owe it to future generations to act now.”

So far all speakers are in favour of the resolution.

Moving speech from student nurse, Clare Manley, who says she is living in poverty and so is her husband and children. “My children are young carers for their brother with autism… for my children, for all our children I urge you to support this motion.”

Chair checks to see if the vote is unanimous- it’s just under. But by far one of the most popular resolutions so far. The item was passed.

Wednesday 09:16 Those in the main hall are voting on whether to add an additional resolution about climate emergency and how a low carbon economy in healthcare can be acheived. 

The item has been carried and put on the agenda.

Another emergency item is about to be voted on. It’s about lobbying government organisations in the UK to take urgent action that safeguards the human rights of people with learning disabilities. “Absolutely and overwhelmingly” passed says the Chair.

Wednesday 09:00: Members are taking their seats in the main hall ready for a third day of resolutions and discussions to unfold.

Wednesday 08:00: Handful of members gather for an early fringe session on social care nursing.

Experts from Skills for Care present a new guide they have produced to demonstrate the broad role of a registered nurse in social care.

They work to bust some myths about the social care RN, including that they can’t revalidate, they can’t go back to the NHS, they don’t get a good pension, it’s a road to retirement and they become de-skilled.

A delegate who works in the sector herself praises the speakers saying RNs in social care used to be a “dirty secret that no-one talked about”.

A student nurse in the gallery tells the speakers that she has not been taught anything about social care as part of her course. 

Tuesday 18.30: End of another day at the 2019 RCN congress at the ACC conference centre in Liverpool. Sun is still shining!

Royal College of Nursing

ACC Liverpool

End of Tuesday at 2019 RCN congress

Tuesday 16:37: Member, Jason Warriner from the Public Health Forum, is leading an emergency resolution about violence prevention.

Royal College of Nursing

Jason Warriner

Jason Warriner, from the Public Health Forum, puts the case in favour of an emergency resolution about violence prevention at RCN congress 2019

Emergency Resolution: That this meeting of RCN Congress pledges to support the UK governemnt’s public health strategies on violence prevention and reduction following the increase in violent knife crime across the UK.

Mr Warriner has referenced a number of schemes that Scotland has implemented since 2005 to help people move away from violent crime. He said: “Members of the nursing team work in a range of roles and settings- all this can contribute to the reduction of crime and improve people’s health and wellbeing.”

“This debate is not about members of the nursing team policing crime,” he warns members. “This is not our role, we are not police officers,” Mr Warriner adds. 

Royal College of Nursing

Jason Warriner

Jason Warriner

He says it is about nurses helping to inform strategies and share the evidence and best practice to help reduce crime.

Following a range of members speaking for the resolution, Helen O’Boyle from the Inner North Central London RCN branch, has now taken to the stage and warns congress that this added responsibility  and ‘legal duty to report knife crime’ will ”pile on more pressure,” especially with the amount of vacancies the nursing profession is dealing with.

She says she has concerns that if the resolution is supported with the wording that is used now that members might be telling the government that it’s okay to “pile it on”. 

“We’re only human,” Ms O’Boyle says. “We only have a certain amount of time to assess our patients and do everything we need to do and if we spot anything then we report it.”

She says she thinks nurses should just work together with multidisciplinary teams, with teachers and the police, and have a different strategy ”instead of criminalising [them] for something that might not be very obvious all of the time”.

This resolution seems to have gained a lot of interest as many more speakers are due to come. 

Now put to the members for the final say. The Chair confirms that the resolution has been passed.

Tuesday 15:44: RCN student members break out into a rendition of Katy Perry’s Roar and take over the debating stage.

Tuesday 15:13: While the votes for the previous resolution are off to be counted, RCN North Yorkshire Branch start off a discussion on homelessness.

Matter for discussion 8: That this meeting of Congress discuss the health and wellbeing impact on families and individuals without a a secure, affordable home.

They are calling on Congress to discuss the health and well-being impact on families and individuals without a secure, affordable home. 

Following a discussion among members an ammendment was raised to change the matter for discussion into a resolution. The wording was then changed and put to members for a vote.

Ammendment resolution: That this meeting of Congress calls on Council to hold the government to account for their inaction over the health crisis of homelessness.

Members voted for the change and so the ammendment was passed. Shortly after it seemed there was much confusion and hesitation in the room as it had not been seconded. Concerns have been raised as to whether a vote can be made on a resolution as the debate was spoken about as a matter for discussion and not in the manner of a resolution.

Member, Danielle Tiplady, has taken to the stage and confirmed that she will second the resolution. The vote was has now been put to congress and great number of green cards assured that the resolution for homelessness has been passed.

Tuesday 14:30: Congress gets ready for resolution 7 which looks at the role of the joint chief executive and general secretary.

Resolution 7: That this meeting of Congress directs RCN Council to instigate a review of the joint chief executive and general secretary role with a view to introducing an elected general secretary.

The motion was rejected with 205 voting in favour and 338 against. A further 38 members abstained from the vote and five spoilt their ballot.

It was made clear during the debate that the proposal was not about individuals with members stating their respect for Dame Donna Kinnair, who currently holds the role.

Jeremy Benton, from the Oxfordshire branch, said: “We will never be taken seriously nor will our interests and priorities as members be properly represented until we have an elected, paid, full-time general secretary in charge of our RCN.”

Opposing the motion, South Staffordshire branch member Liz Longstaff said the general secretary should be appointed on competence not popularity.

Celia Manson, from the West Kent and Medway branch, said it would be “healthy” to have a review of the joint role in light of the row that erupted last year, which led to members passing a vote of no confidence in the RCN Council.

Tuesday 14.20: Members in the main hall are being taught how to sign “Royal College of Nursing Congress in Makaton as part of the #getthenationalsigning campaign aiming to improve inclusion and equity.

Tuesday 12:20: A matter for discussion about nitrois oxide is now underway.

Matter for discussion 6: Nitrous oxide: That this meeting of Congress discusses the lack of understanding of the abuse of nitrous oxide and its consequences on health and wellbeing. Proposed by the RCN Mental Health Forum.

Becky Hoskins from the RCN Mental Health Forum is leading the discussion. Ms Hoskins told members that the forum wants to generate discussion and highlight the dangers of using nitrous oxide, and about how nurses can support people to be more aware.

“We as nurses need to be equipped to support individuals” who chose to use nitrous oxide, she told congress.

“This is a subject that not many nurses know about and that’s why we brought it here,” she said. Although the substance is also known as laughing gas, Ms Hoskin warned congress that “nitrous oxide is no laughing matter”.

Tuesday 11:52: Time for a matter for discussion about the media.

Matter for discussion 5: Media: That this meeting of Congress discusses the impact on nursing, health care and our members when disputes about care decisions attain a high media profile. Proposed by the RCN Children and Young People: Acute Care Forum. (MfD)

Stephen McKeever, who works in critical care, is leading the discussion. He flagged the point that although the discussion is not about one particular case, it is about ”our family, our bothers and sisters”. He also discussed what qualifies as in the public interest. “Nurses leaving the profession is not in the public interest,” he said.

Next up speaking for the discussion is Doreen Crawford. She said: “There is a balance to be had in social media, what is personal, professional and what is in the public domain.

“Social media has caused a ‘societal revolution’ and nurses are beginning to feel the impact,” she added.

A popular topic in the discussion was the impact that social media and the media itself can have on mental health.

Aimee Morgan, who also took to the stand, raised the point of nurses using social media. She said that as long as staff remain professional and stick by fellow colleagues then “it will be okay”.

rcn congress media

RCN Congress 2019

Tuesday 9am: The RCN has released a couple of stories ahead of the content sessions at congress today. One is around a matter for discussion that has been tabled on the dangers of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas.

The RCN and the Queen’s Nursing Institute have also jointly published a major report on district nursing and the need to demonstrate the value of the role in order to try and battle falling staff numbers and protect posts.

Tuesday 8-8.45am: Early start with Nursing Times and NHS England co-hosting a fringe event on learning disability nursing. The aim of the session was improving the health and lives of people with learning disabilities, with work by local Liverpool trusts highlighted. Over 75 people attended the packed event.

Speakers included deputy chief nursing officer for England Hilary Garrett, Jim Blair, clinical lead for improving health and quality with the learning disability team at NHS England and Professor Bob Gates, from the University of West of London.

Royal College of Nursing

Hilary Garrett

Hilary Garrett, deputy chief nursing officer for England, speaks at a Nursing Times and NHS England fringe event on learning disability nursing at RCN congress 2019

Presentations were also made by Lisa Cooper, director of the children and young people community and mental health division, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Shaun Lever, dementia/learning disabilities lead at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, and Joann Kiernan, consultant learning disability nurse at Alder Hey and senior lecturer in nurse education at Edge Hill University.

Royal College of Nursing

Lisa Cooper

Lisa Cooper, director of the children and young people community and mental health division, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, speaks at a Nursing Times and NHS England fringe event on learning disability nursing at RCN congress 2019

Royal College of Nursing

Shaun Lever and Serena Jones

Shaun Lever and Serena Jonest, from Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, speak at a Nursing Times and NHS England fringe event on learning disability nursing at RCN congress 2019

Monday 5.30pm: Well, that’s it for Monday in the main hall #RCN19

Monday 4.30pm: Dame Donna Kinnair, new chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, takes to the stage to give her keynote speech.

“I will fight for what is right,” says  Dame Donna, while highlighting her previous work campaigning for child protection and for those in need, such as single mothers.

“I will be my own woman,” she also says, while musing over what style of leadership she will bring as the new RCN chief exec and general secretary.

However, it did get “bumpy” last year, she notes in relation to the difficult questions asked of the RCN the wake of the NHS pay deal and its communication and leadership on the issue. A year later, she said the college was “stronger than it had ever been, she says.

She goes on to set out her aims on campaigning for safe staffing legislation across the UK, as already reported earlier today.

  • Nurses’ goodwill is being abused, warns RCN leader – The leader of the Royal College of Nursing will today pledge that she will “not stop” until ministers take decisive action to end the workforce crisis. In her first speech on the opening day of this year’s RCN congress, chief executive and general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair is expected to say that the goodwill of nurses that has been keeping the system afloat is wearing thin.

Royal College of Nursing

Dame Donna Kinnair

Donna Kinnair giving her keynote speech at RCN congress in Liverpool on 20 May 2019

Monday 3.25pm: A matter for discussion is up next and it’s on the thorny issue of whether the RCN should rejoin the International Council of Nurses. The RCN controversially opted to leave the world body over costs back in 2013.

Matter for discussion 3: That this meeting of Congress debates whether the RCN would be more influential for nursing and health globally if we re-joined the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Proposed by the RCN Devon Branch. (MfD)

ICN is a federation of 133 nursing organisations that represent 20 million nurses worldwide. ICN is operated by nurses and works to ensure quality nursing care for all, sound health policies globally, the advancement of nursing knowledge, the presence worldwide of a respected nursing profession and a competent and satisfied nursing workforce.

The RCN left ICN when the decision to continue in membership was put to a vote at the 2013 AGM. The decision was made due to concerns about ICN including their strategy, operational effectiveness and membership model. In 2013, the full cost of membership subscription for the RCN was £614,470, based on the size of RCN membership. At January 2013, the membership was 416,077 members. The vote in favour of leaving passed at 91.7%.

How Nursing Times reported the decision of the RCN to leave the ICN six years ago:

Long queues at the mics on the question of whether the RCN would be more influential on the global stage if it was part of the ICN. A mix of people in favour and against the idea.

But the clock is paused on the debate, as we have arrived at tea and after that it will be the keynote speech by Dame Donna Kinnair at 4.30pm. We’ll go back to the debate after that.

Monday 3.05pm: Time for the second resolution of congress, which is about the sensitive issue of “do not attempt resuscitation orders”.

Resolution 2: That this meeting of Congress asks RCN Council to review possible failures of healthcare staff to communicate fully Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) orders with vulnerable groups. Proposed by the RCN Forth Valley Branch

Writing in the congress guide, the proposing branch said: “Effective communication – and recording of that communication – is fundamental to the work of health care professionals in the delivery of care to patients and their families and carers. Anecdotal evidence suggests that appropriately timed conversations about DNAR/DNACPR orders between health care staff and their patients do not always take place.”

Interesting and articulate debate about DNAR and DNACPR orders follows, plus several requests for word changes and several points of order.

After a bit of discussion on word potential changes, BJ Waltho opts to refer the resolution on DNAR order “straight to council” as she believes council understands the “kernel” of it and that getting delegates to agree word changes would take a long time

Monday 2.25pm: Just finishing off a bit of procedure. Shortly, we’ll be starting the first resolution of the day. It is on the decriminalisation of prostitution, which has been submitted by the RCN Greater Bristol branch. Louise Cahill will put the case for the resolution. 

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2019

The motion’s proposers argue that decriminalisation is not the same as legalising prostitution and laws would remain in place to prevent sexual exploitation and human trafficking. They point to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines that recommend countries work towards decriminalising sex work.

Resolution 1: That this meeting of congress calls upon council to lobby governments across the UK to decriminalise prostitution

The RCN public health forum supports the resolution to decriminalise prostitution, says Jason Warriner. 

Most speakers subsequently support the motion, with the exception of one or two. Many say the so-called Nordic model does not work.

Former president Andrea Spyropoulos notes that it is 12 years since congress debated the issue.

The resolution is “well and truly passed”, notes congress chair BJ Waltho after a sea of green cards goes up in favour of RCN council lobbying to decriminalise prostitution.

Monday 2pm: Time for the first debating session of the day, and indeed congress itself, to begin. New chair of congress BJ Waltho gets things underway. 

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2019

RCN congress chair BJ Waltho addresses the conference

Monday 9am: It’s the RCN annual general meeting for most of this morning, which is only for members. So, sorry folks, we aren’t allowed in. The debating on the resolutions starts at 2pm.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN Congress 2019

Source: Steve Ford

Guides to RCN Congress 2019

Monday 7.30am: Congress kicks off today with the early release of the key points that Dame Donna Kinnair will set out in her speech later today. It focuses on the college’s campaign to get safe staffing legislation introduced in England, in the same that it is in Wales and Scotland.

  • Nurses’ goodwill is being abused, warns RCN leader – The leader of the Royal College of Nursing will today pledge that she will “not stop” until ministers take decisive action to end the workforce crisis. In her first speech on the opening day of this year’s RCN congress, chief executive and general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair is expected to say that the goodwill of nurses that has been keeping the system afloat is wearing thin.



Source: Steve Ford

Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool

Sunday 8pm: RCN congress had its opening and awards ceremony, featuring a speech by president Professor Anne Marie Rafferty and the announcing of its latest batch of fellows.

  • Former minister and leading nursing figures become RCN fellows – The Royal College of Nursing has awarded fellowships to nine leading figures from the profession at the beginning of its annual congress. Former Labour health minister and district nurse Ann Keen was one of those to receive fellowships from the RCN in Liverpool on Sunday evening.

In the run-up to RCN Congress, Dame Donna Kinnair spoke to Nursing Times about key issues affecting nursing and her priorities.

  • Exclusive: RCN should be taken seriously, says new leader – There must be a “fundamental change” in the level of respect given to the Royal College of Nursing, its new chief executive has urged, claiming the current crisis facing the profession could have been avoided if its previous warnings had been heeded. Dame Donna Kinnair said the college had been raising alarm bells about the sustainability of the nursing workforce for the best part of a decade but no-one in power had taken notice. The shortfall of nurses in England’s NHS is predicted to rise from 40,000 now to 70,000 in the next five years.

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 Thursday evening. Come and say hello or follow us on Twitter: @SteveJFord @gemmamitchell92 @Megan_Ford97 

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