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RCN Congress 2015: LIVE rolling news

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

16.23 There we go, that’s it. RCN Congress 2015 is officially ended.

16.21 “I will see you all in Glasgow next year”, says congress chair Stuart McKenzie, highlighting that next year’s conference is taking place from 18-22 June 2016.

16.14 Stuart McLenzie thanks outgoing RCN conference and events manager Brian French for his work over last 30 years on congress. He also gets a standing ovation.

It’s his 35th congress and is now speaking for the first time ever at the lectern. He gets another standing ovation after an emotional farewell speech. “For he’s a jolly good fellow” rings out loudly.

Luckily the deputy editor of a rival nursing publication is on hand to give Brian a tissue.

16.12 Just to show that they share the love, delegates also gives congress deputy chair BJ Waltho a standing ovation, after she gives an emotional summary of her week and thanks people for their “warmth” even when things have gone wrong.

16.08 Peter Carter receives his third standing ovation of congress

Royal College of Nursing

Delegates show their appreciation for Peter Carter on Thursday afternoon

16.05 Outgoing chief exec and general secretary Peter Carter commends delegates for the high quality of the debates. He tells Stuart McKenzie he’s been a “temendous” chair of congress.

He adds that the RCN is a “force for good”.

16.04 That concludes formal business for this year’s congress, says Mr McKenzie after the vote. Now it’s just time for half an hour of closing remarks.

16.01 Congress chair Stuart McKenzie asks delegates “if they’ve had a good week”. The resultant cheer suggests that they have.

Card voting still under way.

15.57 Results are in for the vote on the stress at work resolution:

For – 99.27% (408)

Against – 0.73%

Abstain – 0%

15.56 Outside it’s generally sunny but there’s a bit of a sea mist obscuring Boscombe.

15.47 Still an impressive number of delegates still in the main hall at congress, even though it’s the last session of the last day.

Outside in the conference centre it’s a different matter, people in dark blue T-shirts are busy taking everything apart.

15.46 Resolution 23: Stress at work. Submitted by the RCN Safety Representatives Committee.


That this meeting of RCN Congress calls on Council to ensure employers take measures to reduce work-related stress by adhering to HSE guidance


15.30 Here’s Nicola Merrifield’s report on the debate on unsocial hours pay from earlier on:

14.46 Another matter for discussion. The important issue of continence training. Submitted by RCN Continence Forum – perhaps unsurprisingly. It reads:


That this meeting of RCN Congress debates the issue of the lack of training for nurses and healthcare assistants in the field of continence


14.33 Current matter for discussion is E27 submitted by RCN Students Committee:


That this meeting of RCN Congress discusses that if this government is to reduce agency expenditure they must consider how they will attract and retain student nurses


14.25 Here’s my summary of the key points from Professor Viv Bennett’s speech and Q&A yesterday afternoon.

12.36 Voting time. For those interested, the popular background music provided for this one is “Nine to Five” by Dolly Parton. Possibly ironic, given that the debate was about working unsocial hours.

The resolution is passed:

  • For – 99.58% (476)
  • Against – 0.42% (2)
  • Abstain – 0% (2)

12.18 Congress chair Stuart McKenzie agrees and is looking at re-wording the resolultion, but while allowing the debate to continue. The words of the resolultion have duly been changed to:


That this meeting of RCN Congress should urge Council to challenge any proposal by the UK Government to scrap or undermine unsocial hours payments


12.15 Debate is underway on the resolution, though one speaker has questioned whether its wording is “competent”, pointing out that the government has yet to actually propose scrapping unsocial hours payments.

As reported by Nursing Times in January, ministers have submitted recommendations to the review body on how pay arrangements could be changed, which include the option of doing away with them. But at present they are not formal policy proposals. It’s a technical point, but an accurate one.

12pm Richard Beauchamp from RCN Essex branch currently submitting the next resolution, number 20. It’s potentially a big one as it’s about unsocial hours payments. The motion reads:


That this meeting of RCN Congress rejects the 2010-15 UK Government’s premise that unsocial hours payments should be scrapped


The motion comes in the wake of government’s request of the NHS Pay Review Body to review unsocial hours payments.

Ministers and trusts have previously suggested such payments cost too much, especially if the new Conservative government is to achieve its election pledge to make the NHS a “truly seven-day service”.

The review body is due to report next month on its findings on how Agenda for Change can be altered in terms of payments for unsocial hours.

11.55 We are now going to do a postal card vote and an electronic vote on the resolution on fighting against proposed laws that would restrict industrial action by public sector workers.

“Power to the people” by John Lennon from 1971 is the back-track to voting.

The result from the electronic vote is:

  • For – 97.12% (404)
  • Against – 2.88% (12)
  • Abstain 0% (7)

11.51 One of the most popular characters at congress is Bethann Siviter’s disability assistance dog Taska from the charity Canine Partners.

Royal College of Nursing

Assistant dog Taska

In trying to find more information on the dog, I have also discovered that Ms Sivitier has her own Wikipedia entry, which surely puts in the frame for being one of the most famous nurses at the conference.

11.34 And now to another emergency resolution, number 26E. Submitted by the RCN UK Stewards Committee, it is as follows:


That this meeting of RCN Congress urges Council to oppose the proposed legislative changes outlined in the Queen’s Speech to inhibit and prevent trade union members from exercising their democratic right to take industrial action.


A very passionate presentation of the motion and urge to support it given by committee chair Graham Revie.

11.31 Congress has just voted for a resolution to be added to the agenda this afternoon. Submitted by the RCN Students Committee (27E), it reads:


That this meeting of RCN Congress discusses that if this government is to reduce agency expenditure they must consider how they will attract and retain student nurses


10.52 Time for a coffee break. Back at 11.15am, says congress chair Stuart McKenzie. Stretched a bit further due to long queues for coffee.

10.33 Item number 18 is a matter for discussion on the EU and nursing. Emma Eccles presenting the topic on behalf of RCN Lothian branch.

She calls for a “lively debate”, including on whether the RCN should have a position on remaining or leaving the EU in the upcoming referendum.




That this meeting of RCN Congress discusses the impact of membership of the European Union on nursing and healthcare provision in the UK


10.26 Time for the vote on the carers’ champions resolution. They will be doing both electronic and care voting. Incidentally, the background music is back. It’s Nina Simone with “My baby just cares for me”. The results are:

  • For – 82.35% (336)
  • Against – 17.65% (72)
  • Abstain – 0% (21)

A smattering of cards against, but overall the motion is passed.


10.05 Back to more comfortable territory for congress. A resolution (number 17) on carers’ champions submitted by RCN Birmingham East, North and Solihull branch. It reads:


That this meeting of RCN Congress urges Council to lobby for the establishment of an appopriately resources carers champion in each GP practice and community health centre


In its supporting statement, the branch says the provision of carer champions is “realistic, possible to achieve and appropriate”.

10.04 As well as the proposer, there were an impressive 32 speakers in the strike discussion, notes congress chair Stuart McKenzie.

10.02 General theme coming through from everyone is that they don’t want to strike, but they are still very divided on whether they should have the right to as RCN members.

9.42 After nearly 15 minutes of debate, people are still wanting to join the debate on whether to strike or not. Still hearing roughly equal number of views for and against.

Just a reminder that this is a matter for discussion, so there will be no voting on a resolution at the end of the debate.


9.29 Unlike many of the debates so far, we’re hearing a real mix of views on both “for” and “against” taking industrial action.

9.19 We kick off today with what should be a very interesting matter for discussion in light of last year’s pay dispute. Submitted by RCN Greater Glasgow branch, it asks:


Should nurses in the RCN strike to protect not only ourselves but our patients and the services that they rely on


Long queues are already forming to speak both for and against the matter.


9.16 Today’s pre-planned story from RCN congress focuses on learning disability nurses. Here it is:

Thursday 9.14 Last day of RCN Congress 2015

15.12 There will be no increased in the RCN’s membership fee during 2016, confirms David Harding-Price due to the college’s “strong” financial position. Applause follows!

14.59 The RCN’s honorary treasurer David Harding-Price tells congress that the RCN Group ended the year to 31 December 2014 with a surplus before taxation of £10.6m.

However, the total net assets of the RCN Group decreased from £49.2m to £45.6m, due to the effect of the college’s pension scheme deficit.

14.40 A second standing ovation at this year’s congress for outgoing chief executive Peter Carter, after RCN chair Michael Brown pays tribute to his work over the last eight and a half years.

14.27 Almost time for the RCN’s annual general meeting.

14.20 A good news story about nursing:

Three nurses from the North West attending the Royal College of Nursing Congress in Bournemouth have been credited with helping save a man’s life after he collapsed outside their hotel.

11.43 Time for another item. A matter for discussion on RCN local branches submitted by the RCN East Kent branch. Mamie Bishopp-Schyberg, from the branch, questions whether it’s worth having local branches in the college anymore. She points out that few people attend branch meetings.


That this meeting of RCN Congress discusses whether there is still a need to maintain a local branch based structure in the RCN


11.30 Lisa Crooks calls for “action from the membership to complement the sterling work” being done by the RCN’s International Department on opposing the TTIP.

She suggests a demonstration in Cavendish Square – where the RCN’s headquarters are based – would get media attention and, therefore, get the issue into the public’s awareness. She also suggests making contact with Amercian nursing organisations.

11.25 Several questions being put to the RCN Council on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – the so-called “TTIP” – which is a trade agreement to be negotiated between the European Union and the US.

Concerns have been raised about whether the NHS could be at risk from US health insurers entering the UK health market, as a result of the free trade deal. Ministers have suggested the NHS will be protected in some way but RCN members are asking for guarantees.

11.11 Michael Brown, chair of the RCN Council, is now giving his report to congress.

Royal College of Nursing

Congress goes “old school” with a card vote

10.22 The music while the electronic voting takes place on the climate change resolution is appropriateley Billy Idol’s “Hot in the City”. We now have some figures:

  • For – 93.53% (448)
  • Against – 6.47% (31)
  • Abstain – 0% (3)

The resolution was passed by card vote as well by the way.

10am A rare positive mention for Margaret Thatcher at RCN congress. David Baker, a former climate scientist, highlights that she made a groundbreaking speech to the UN in 1989 on the need to tackle climate change and global warming, and went on to open the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research.

9.57 Incidentally, today’s big story released by the RCN to coincide with congress is a survey on the serious issue of the physical and verbal abuse faced by community nursing teams.

9.53 Next resolution is submitted by the RCN Welsh Board and is on climate change and health. It reads:


That this meeting of RCN Congress urges Council to lobby governments within the UK to take all actions to prepare the UK health services for the effects of long term climate change


9.49 We move to the vote, which today is being done electronically and also with cards due to the continuing technology issues.

The motion is carried both both voting methods, though the cards are now being considered by RCN Council as the “substantive” method. They have also stopped putting up the electronic results to ease pressure on the techies, so sorry folks no numbers for you today.

9.40 Helen Goldsmith, an agency nurse, says “I do not make £2,000 an hour or per shift. I just want to make that clear.”

“Let’s value our old people,” she says, having told congress that some carers think they can earn more working in a supermarket than a care home.

9.31 There is an impromptu round of applause for congress chair Stuart McKenzie, after Philip McCaffrey highlights the “sterling work” that he did yesterday, in the face of technology failures and other issues.

9.28 Bethann Siviter points out the that there is an “assumption that anybody can provide good older people’s care and that’s simply not true”.By way of example, she notes that she “wouldn’t dream” of working in intensive care or any other specialty without the necessary training.

9.23 First resolution today is number 12 on the “cost of care”. Essentially it’s about care homes and how they are financed. It has been submitted the RCN’s Older People’s Forum and the wording of the resolution is:.


That this meeting of RCN Congress calls on Council to lobby governments within the UK to recognise the true cost of care, and make adjustments in the payments made to care home providers.


9.22 The first sound-track of the day is “Billy Jean” by Michael Jackson, possibly in honour of congress deputy chair BJ Waltho.

Royal College of Nursing

Congress council on Wednesday morning

Wednesday 9.21 Good morning from Bournemouth, where the sun is shining and Old Harry Rocks are visible on a nearby headland.

18.19 Here’s our report on the safe staffing debate from this afternoon: RCN to lobby against suspension of NICE safe staffing guidance


16.34 Back to the usual business of congress. We return to the matter for discussion on integrating care.

16.24 Prof Bennett finishes her speech and moves on to a Q&E with RCN members, the first question asks about whether health visiting services will be safe after commissioning moves over to councils. Another soon follows on government plans to cut £200m from public health budgets.

Congress chair Stuart McKenzie praises her for her honest answers.

Public Health Bennett

Viv Bennett at RCN Congress 2015

16.19 Prof Bennett adds: “We do shed loads of prevention work. Is it always recognised? No!”

She notes that there needs to be some way of measuring the public health work that nurses do and the impact it has. PHE has developed a public health outcomes framework to try and do this, she says.

16.18 “We need to do things at system level,” says Prof Bennett, noting that children need green spaces to run about in and people need to be able to cook healthy food.

16.15 Professor Bennett says that the NHS should be a ”movement for health” and not just an “illness service”.

16.04 Professor Viv Bennett, chief nurse at Public Health England starts her keynote speech. Prevention and public health is the order of the day.

Public Health England

Professor Viv Bennett addresses RCN Congress 2015

15.12 Next up is a matter for discussion on integrating care. Bit of a step-change after the motions on pay and staffing. Anyway, congress has now broken for tea.

15.09 Quite a bit of chatter and laughter as the tension dissipates after the last item. Despite NICE and NHS England being the expected baddies, several speakers did criticise the RCN itself for not being strong enough on the question of safe staffing.

15.04 Time for the vote on the safe staffing resolution. It is passed:

  • For – 99.45% (360)
  • Against – 0.55% (2)
  • Abstain – 0% (1)

15.02 Jason Warriner comes back to the lectern to respond before the vote. “Let’s use our voice now”, he says.

14.59 Dave Dawes, from Manchester Central branch, highlights research showing more than eight patients per nurse is “unsafe”. Attacks NICE for not publishing guidance quicker.

14.55 Sarah Waters – with the help of her crutch – attacks the government for its decision on safe staffing guidance, claiming “they are cutting away from us from the bottom”.

14.53 Mark Boothroyd says the RCN “needs to act” on the safe staffing issue, criticising it for not being strong enough on the issue.

“We should be outside the Department of Health every month protesting…it’s imperative we act now…we need to mobilise our members,” he says.

14.50 Susan Woodward, who describes herself as a researcher, says the blame for the decision on guidelines should be laid at the door of NHS England not NICE itself.

“We need a standardised format to collect data”, she says, noting that there is a lack of evidence on safe staffing.

14.43 Jade Taylor, from Berkshire branch, says she doesn’t feel the RCN does enough to support safe staffing. Awkward moment as she brings up Mid Staffs and the RCN’s role and criticises chief exec and general secretary Peter Carter. Campaign group Cure the NHS also gets a big mention before the congress chair steps in.

Responding, Peter Carter says he “simply doesn’t accept” suggestions that the RCN was at fault over Mid Staffs. Ms Taylor has, however, already left the main hall.

14.42 Quite a few empty seats compared to this morning, possbly due to it being just after lunch.

14.39 Time for the emergency resolution on safe staffing (number 25E). It’s been sudmitted by the RCN Public Forum. Jason Warriner curently presenting to congress on why they should support it. The wording of the reslution is below:


That this meeting of RCN Congress deplores the decision to halt the current work by NICE on safe staffing and calls for RCN Council to lobby for the reversal of this decision that puts patients at risk


14.37 And the results are in. the resolution was passed:

For – 97.29% (467)

Against – 2.71% (13)

Abstain – 0% (4)

14.25 So to recap, congress is going to vote on the following resolution, which started out as a matter for discussion submitted by the RCN South Birmingham branch.


That this meeting of Congress asks Council to lobby employers to assist relieving the financial burden on nursing staff in light of sub-inflationary pay awards, including payment of professional fees.


14.20 Back from lunch. First, it’s the vote on the pay resolution form this morning, then it’s on to the much-anticipated debate on safe staffing. Not much room on the press desk in the main hall. Seats are at a premium.

13.22 Following on from yesterday’s widespread coverage of the RCN’s warning about new migration rules meaning thousands of oversease nurses would lead to the country, here’s our report on the debate:

Oh, and a certain Mr Cameron was also asked what he thought about the story. Here’s what he said:

David Cameron at LGA conference 2009

13.20 In case you didn’t make it last night, he NMC held a fringe event on revalidation.Jenni Middleton reports:

13.19 Catch up on the detail of this morning’s debate on A&E pressures. Nicola Merrifield reports:

12.26 Congress chair Stuart McKenzie announces lunch and says that voting on the pay resolution will be done afterwards with both cards and electronic handsets, after delegates continue to raise concerns about technology issues.

12.26 After discussion on whether the resolution should be aimed at government or employers, RCN chief exec Peter Carter intervenes to say that he wants to see employers putting pressure on the government over pay.


12.21 As a result, members will vote on the following resolution – probably, once they’ve gone through a bit more discussion on the wording. There is a murmour from the troops around me about whether the focus should be on employers or the government.


That this meeting of Congress asks Council to lobby employers to assist relieving the financial burden on nursing staff in light of sub-inflationary pay awards, including payment of professional fees.


12.20 “That takes us into a voting situation,” notes congress chair Stuart McKenzie after a reqest to turn the discussion on pay into a resolution.

12.16 Lots of passion in the room on the issue of pay.

Bank and agency nurses are “being run ragged”, having to travel miles between different trusts in order to fill shifts and earn a living, says Beverley Baker. “It’s not right – something needs to be done,” she says, to applause.


12.10 Andrew McGovern says “we should be tackling the government” over pay, rather than asking for more from employers.

12.05 Catriona Forsyth warns that the plight of nurses is often ignored by government and national media. ‘We do not shout loud enough,’ she says loudly.

12pm Okay so I was wrong. We have moved on to another matter for discussion.

Rebecca Hoskins puts the case strongly on behalf of RCN South Birmingham branch. Lots of clapping aready for her presentation, noting the hardship faced by some nurses, use of food banks and the pay of politicians.


That this meeting of Congress discusses ways for emplyers to relieve the financial burden on nursing staff in light of sub-inflationary pay awards, inlcuding payment of professional fees.


11.54 The emergency resolution on safe staffing, which was added in light of the recent halting of the guidance programme by NICE, is due next, I believe. I’m expecting a few fireworks.

11.51 A “matter for discussion” currently taking place about the four branches of nursing. Submitted by the RCN Children and Young People’s Specialist Care Forum, the item is worded as follows:


That this meeting of RCN Congress discussed whether the four ‘branches’ of nursing lead to nurses working in silos, or meet the needs of vulnerable patients?


10.30 Early coffee break while they hunt for an electrician.

10.24 Congress chair Stuart McKenzie leads the conference in an impromtu rendition of “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”. Congress being hit by technical problems this morning – failure of the background music and problems with the electonic voting system.

10.16 My reporter has earnt her money already today by identifying the rapper whose picture is largely, but inexplicably, displayed on the wall of the press room as Jay Z. It’s more subdued in the press room than it was yesterday – some drinks may have been consumed last night.


9.58 Swiftly on to the next resolution, following the excitement and passion of the A&E debate. This one is from the RCN Devon branch and is about custody nursing:


That this meeting of RCN Congress urges Council to lobby governments within the UK to enahnce the role of nurses providing services to people in custody in police stations and courts.


9.53 Voting time on the A&E resolution. It is passed by a large margin:

  • For – 99.49% (391)
  • Against – 051% (2)
  • Abstain – 3

9.48 The sun is out today in Bournemouth by the way. Lovely morning.

9.46 CPN Uwem Otong is applauded after stating that the A&E crisis is actually part of a “system-wide” problem.

9.41 Practice nurses are “part of the solution” to the A&E crisis, says Karen Storey from the RCN’s Practice Nurse Forum. But efforts are needed to make practice nursing as attractice as A&E to work in, she notes. More placements in GP practices would help, she suggests.

9.34 Sarah Neill points out that “we shouldn’t blame the parents” for coming to A&E. The NHS needs more children’s nurses working in primary care, she says. At the moment, they are “a bit like hen’s teeth”, she notes.


9.32 Several speakers have laid part of the blame for the A&E pressures on the replacement of NHS Direct with NHS 111.

9.28 Stand by, there are 31 people in the queue wanting to talk about this one. Not expecting anyone to say anything opposing it though.

9.24 The first “biggy” of the day, as congress debates a resolution on accident and emergency pressures. The national media were showing potential interest in this one last night.

Kathy Moore from the RCN East Dorset branch is currently putting the case for the resolution, which is worded as follows:


That this meeting of RCN Congress requests Council to put pressure on the governments within the UK to address the crisi in the A&E service.


In its official submission, the branch states “enough is enough”. “For the sake of patients and staff, the RCN needs to take action alongside other royal colleges and the BMA (British Medical Association).”

9.21 After the usual introductions and rules reminder, conference decides to add a resolution (number 26E) to the agenda. It’s on industrial action and submitted by the Stewards Committee:


That this meeting of RCN Congress urges Council to oppose the proposed legislative changes outlines in the Queen’s Speech to inhibit and prevent trade union members from exercising their democratic right to take industrial action.


9.20 Today’s early story from the RCN press office is Nursing for terminally ill children let down by lack of resource – Terminally ill children are being let down by a lack of staff, training and resources in community health settings, nurses have warned.

Royal College of Nursing

The stage is set

Tuesday 9.20 Good morning from RCN Congress in Bournemouth.

17.27 So that’s about all from the first day of congress – from the main debating hall that is.

17.23 Voting time again. The resolution is clearly passed:

  • For – 94.83% (422)
  • Against – 5.27% (23)
  • Abstain – (16)

17.12 Gary Roberts – distinctive in that he is wearing a bear onesie – makes some important points about the issues facing LGBT people in rural areas, based on his experience in the Highlands.

17.08 Jason Warriner, a former chair of congress, says the RCN has a strong track record on LGBT issues and that the resolution being discussed is the “next step”.

17.02 Straight on to the next resolution. It’s number seven on the list and being submitted by Cardiff and Vale Branch. It reads:


That this meeting of RCN Congress lobbies for improved mental health services for LGBT patients


16.59 Congress chair Stuart McKenzie has come up with an innovative way of passing the time while members vote. He calls out a type of nurse and the relevent group in the audience whoop back.

For the record, the children’s nurses were loudest during the last vote.

16.56 Time for the vote on the workforce planning resolution. And the results are in:

  • For – 98.47% (483)
  • Against – 1.43% (7)
  • Abstain – (6)

Resolution is passed

16.53 Shirley Ali suggests ministers visit the Philippines and find out why they have so many nurses and we don’t.

Royal College of Nursing

Shirley Ali address congress

16.49 Maria Nicholson says government approach to workforce planning is worse than lackadaisical – as described in resolution – and that it’s actually “woeful”.

16.48 The community nurse workforce is “dwindling” warns Marie Massey from the Practice Nurse Forum, who is speaking for the first at congress. Support the resolution, she says.

16.44 Wendy Fairhurst-Winstanley warns that hundreds of physician assistants (called physician associates by government) are being recruited to help with workforce problems in primary care, but highlights that they are not regulated.

16.37 Michael Smith presents the reasons for supporting the motion on workforce planning, with particular focus on staff workloads in the community sector.

He points out that average of people joining the register is 29 and the average age of nurses in general is 45.

16.34 Congress is back to discuss and vote on resolution number six, submitted by UK Stewards Committee.


That this meeting of RCN Congress calls on governments within the UK to change their lackadaisical approach to nursing workforce planning.


15.40 And it’s time for a tea break. Meanwhile, outside the conference centre the rain clouds have gone, the sun is out and the seaside rides are now operational.

15.39 Results of resolution on mental health crisis care:

  • For – 99.8% (507)
  • Against – 0.2% (1)
  • Abstain – (3)

Resolution passed

15.31 Congress is currently debating a resolution from the RCN Students Commitee. This one has been added to the agenda and from listening to the last few speakers I think it will be passed by a large majority:


That this meeting of RCN Congress lobbies to hold commissioning bodies to account for commissioning robust crisis care for those in mental health crisis


13.30 Here’s my summary of the key points and main thrust of Peter Carter’s speech: Carter bows out with call for nurses to be more vocal

12.15 Peter Carter receives a standing ovation, as he finishes his speech.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN members applaud Peter Carter’s last speech as chief executive and general secretary

12.10 Warming to his task now, Peter Carter moves on to the government’s plans for a seven-day service in the NHS, warning that they will “not get it” by cutting unsocial hours pay.

12.07 The RCN chief executive calls on nurses to “speak up” more about issues such as pay and allowances. He notes that only 16% of members replied to the college’s consultation last year on the pay dispute.

“Why is it that so few of our members vote when we ballot them,” he asks members. “Use your voice,” he emphasises, which is followed by clapping.

12.04 Peter Carter warns about the problems facing student nurses, saying that many are so demoralised that they are seeking to go abroad to work.

“You need to listen to what the nursing profession is saying to you. Nurses are voting with their feet,” he says in a message for the governments of the UK.



11.58 Peter Carter notes that some members are nervous about the forthcoming introduction of revalidation – the new system of competence checks for re-regulation that is due to replace PREP next year. But he urges nurses to see it as a “positive change” but that it must be “fit for purpose and manageable”.

Royal College of Nursing

Peter Carter on the big screen at RCN Congress 2015

11.54 Peter Carter moves on standards of care provided by healthcare assistants. He notes the new Care Certificate for HCAs as a very positive move but argues that it should be mandatory.

11.49 A key theme of Peter Carter’s speech is safe staffing. He focuses particularly on NHS England’s recent decision to tell NICE to stop its work programme on safe staffing guidance. He says the college is calling on health secretary Jeremy Hunt to “revisit” the decision.

Royal College of Nursing

Peter Carter giving his keynote speech to RCN congress 2015

11.44 Time for RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter’s keynote speech. His ninth and last speech to RCN congress before he steps down next month. He is greeted to the lectern with warm applause.

11.33 We move on to another matter for discussion. Another item submitted by the Suffolk branch:


That this meeting of RCN Congress discusses the provision of non-emergency ambulance services to NHS hospital and community clinic appointments.


11.26 Results of second resolution calling for the lobbying of investment in child health are:

  • For – 99.52% (414)
  • Against – 0.48% (2)
  • Abstain – 0% (3)

The resolution is passed

11.20 Congress is back and now voting on the following resolution:


That this meeting of RCN Congress calls on council to lobby all UK governments to invest in our young people and end child health inequalities.


10.31 Applause when it is suggested that the matter for discussion be turned into a resolution that will be voted on. But first, a coffee break.

10.29 Rod Thomson, RCN deputy president and a former chair of congress takes to the stand. As a public health director, he warns that proposed cuts to public health budgets will have negative imact on child health.

He calls on ministers not to ignore the “fundamental evidence” linking investment in child health.

Royal College of Nursing

RCN congress during the first debating session on Monday

10.22 Strong points made by Jeni Watts about the importance of health visitors to tackling child health inequalities. She raises concerns about the future of the universal health visiting service once it is commissioned by councils from the autumn.

10.12 Congress moves on to its second item, a matter for discussion (as opposed to a resolution, so there won’t be a vote) put forward by Rachel Hollis from the RCN’s Children and Young People’s Specialisit Care Forum:

That this meeting of RCN Congress discusses the impact of health inequalities in childhood.




10.10 Results of first resolution on urging oppositon to covert filming in care homes are:

  • For – 79.52%
  • Against – 20.48%
  • Abstain – 0%

10.08 Congress chair Stuart McKenzie highlights that covert filming is a “cotentious issue” and “emotive subject”. And now time for the voting!

10.05 Susan Goodman from Plymouth branch suggests that using filming might encourage managers to do less actual monitoring of care standards, because they think they can look at the films later.

10.01 Lots of good points being made about covert surveillance in care homes, but such a complex issue with many questions over how it would/should work that none of the many speakers has really got the passion going on this one yet.


9.51 Sheila Dunbar, from the RCN’s Research Society, notes that when she worked in a care home that she rarely had time to monitor and observe care workers properly. Suggests that we should “start thinking about” staffing levels in care homes and calls on RCN to campaign for work in this area.

CNO for England Jane Cummings has already signaled this is something she wants to do as part of her wider programme on safe staffing. NICE, wich was previously doing the work on safe staffing, had not included care homes on its list of staffing guideline topics.

9.49 Iain McGregor, from the RCN’s Old People’s Forum, highlights the complexities of the issue of covert filming, pointing out that it has both advantages and disadvantages.

Looked like this one would be voted though as a formality, but not so sure now.

9.47 Laura Falconer from Hertfordshire branch says she’s happy to second the resolution.

9.43 And so to the first resolution (we’re running a bit late). Gill Cooksey from the RCN’s Suffolk branch comes to the lectern to urge members to vote for their motion on covert filming:


That this meeting of RCN congress urges council to oppose the use of covert video and audio surveillance and recording in nursing and residential homes.


9.40 To background organ music of “We do like to be beside the seaside”, the machinery of congress gets going with some voting about whether to add something to the agenda.

9.31 The weather may be decidedly damp in Bournemouth, but the atmosphere inside the BIC is anything but under the weather. Members are clearly enjoying the fact that the RCN has been successful with the stories that it releases to the national media to coincide with congress.

Chief exec Peter Carter – who is at his last congress before stepping down – has been on the BBC as well as strong coverage in the left-leaning press, eg Mirror, Guardian and Independent, to talk about the RCN’s warning about new immigration laws (see below)

9.30 Congress is up and running with introductory speeches by chair Stuart McKenzie and vice-chair BJ Waltho.

Monday 8am New overseas nurse rules will ‘cause chaos’ for NHS – Nurse recruitment will be under increasing strain in the coming years as new government rules that require overseas workers to earn a minimum salary come into effect, the Royal College of Nursing has claimed in its big story for today.

Sunday 8am Loss of senior nurses threatens ‘seven-day’ service policy– The government’s ambition of a truly “seven-day” NHS is threatened by the loss of thousands of senior and advanced nurse posts in recent years, the Royal College of Nursing has warned.

Nursing Times reporters will be reporting live from the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress in Bournemouth. We’ll be here until Thursday.

Royal College of Nursing

The main debating hall during the first session of congress



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