The Royal College of Nursing has been excluded from a summit called by the prime minister to discuss NHS reform.
David Cameron is to meet a number of health and social care organisations today to discuss “implementation of the NHS reforms”. Those invited include The Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Surgeons, and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.
However the RCN and the Royal College of GPs are notable exceptions. It also appears that the British Medical Association has not been invited.
The prime minister’s plan to hold the event was revealed on Friday by Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.
RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter confirmed in a statement on Sunday that the RCN had not been invited. Other unions including Unison have also not been invited.
Mr Carter said: “It is difficult to understand how the government believes it can hold a productive meeting on the NHS reforms without representation from the single biggest workforce in the NHS.
“They have continually pledged throughout this process to put clinicians in the driving seat, yet this decision would suggest an unwillingness to engage with the views of nurses.
“Nurses know how to improve care and it is vital for patients that they are listened to. The RCN has said that we will continue to raise the genuinely held concerns of our members with the government, however our overall view remains that the bill as a whole risks damaging the NHS which our members work hard to build and support.”
Health minister Simon Burns, speaking to the BBC today, said Mr Cameron had spoken to Mr Carter on the phone last month. Mr Burns said: “On this occasion we are meeting those organisations who are constructively engaged in implementing the modernisation.”