Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Round-up of last month’s main workforce and policy news affecting UK nurses

  • Comment

Miss any of the news affecting the profession during September 2018? Catch up with our summary of the main nursing headlines.


RCN council must stand down after losing confidence vote

Ballot box

Ballot box

The council of the Royal College of Nursing has been forced to collectively stand down after losing a historic vote of no confidence.

A significant 78% of respondents voted in favour of the no confidence motion. The results were revealed at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) held in Birmingham on 28 September.

The EGM was called following a petition by more than 1,000 RCN members to discuss the college’s communications and processes surrounding the pay deal, which the majority voted to accept earlier this year. As previously reported, angry members felt “misled” after many received much less in their pay packets than they were expecting.

In total, 11,156 people voted in favour of the resolution, which stated: “We have no confidence in the current leadership of the RCN, and call on council to stand down.”

A further 3,124 people voted against the motion, and 1,112 abstained. However, only around 3% of the RCN membership voted, either by proxy or in person at the EGM.

“This vote is clear and the council and management of the RCN have received the message”

Maria Trewern

Commenting on the result, outgoing chair of council Maria Trewern said: “Today’s honest and open debate in Birmingham has cleared the air and the college will emerge stronger as a result. This vote is clear and the council and management of the RCN have received the message.”

She added: “Council has already driven change within the organisation in recent weeks – to listen more closely to members and involve them thoroughly – and this will continue.”

After the vote, Ms Trewern said the council would enter a period of transition and would convene at the beginning of October to plan its next steps.


Call for global nurse campaigns to promote stronger image

Queen’s Nursing Institute

Suzanne Gordon

Source: Kate Stanworth

Suzanne Gordon

Nursing campaigns featuring smiling staff holding cut out hearts are undermining the way society views nurses, a veteran US health journalist and writer has warned. Addressing the Queen’s Nursing Institute annual conference, Suzanne Gordon claimed the typical photograph used to celebrate the profession was all about heart rather than brain.


New standards aim to support community children’s nurses



New voluntary standards have been published by the Queen’s Nursing Institute and Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland for the education and practice of community children’s nurses.


Minister highlights need to promote work of community nurses

Department of Health and Social Care

Caroline Dinenage

Caroline Dinenage

Care minister Caroline Dinenage has promised to fight to get the voice of community nurses heard in government. In a speech, she said she was “passionate” about community services and It was time for society to take more notice of what the sector’s nurses did, stating: “Much of what you do goes unnoticed and that simply must change.”


Government asks nurses to share ‘challenges, questions and ideas’

man ipad tablet computer

man ipad tablet computer

Nursing staff are being urged to post “ideas, questions and challenges” on a new digital platform called Talk Health and Care, which has been set up by the government. Staff will be asked about issues including shift patterns, technology, training and development, and bullying and harassment.


All NHS frontline nurses ‘expected’ to have flu vaccine

flu girl sneeze

All frontline health service staff will be “expected” to have an influenza vaccination, as part of winter plans from NHS England and NHS Improvement. Trusts have been asked to achieve a “near universal” uptake of this year’s flu jab among their frontline staff.


Overseas nurses now able to work in UK straight after qualifying



Nurses and midwives who have trained outside the European Union are now allowed to apply to come and work in the UK immediately after qualifying. The move follows changes by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and brings applicants from outside the EU into line with their EU counterparts.


Trainee nursing associates may not have supernumerary status

Clipboard form data information

Trusts told to regularly reveal data on ‘avoidable’ patient deaths

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has rubberstamped standards and guidance meaning apprentice nursing associates will not be entitled to supernumerary status in their place of work.


Number of nursing students in England down by 500 this year


The number of student nurses starting courses in England has fallen by more than 500 for the new academic year, according to latest figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.


Hospital trust introduces badges to help support preceptees

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

Hospital trust introduces badges to identify preceptees

Newly qualifieds wearing new badges

University Hospitals Plymouth Trust has introduced pin badges to identify newly-qualified nurses, midwives, and operating department practitioners during their preceptorship year.


Next CNO to work across NHS England and NHS Improvement

NHS England

CNO: EU nurses will need support during Brexit uncertainty

Jane Cummings at the 2017 CNO summit

The next chief nursing officer for England will be a joint appointment and work across two national agencies – NHS England and NHS Improvement – instead of the current one.


New law doubles prison terms for those who assault nurses

court judge

Tougher sentences will be brought against those who assault healthcare staff under a new law that will come into force in November, meaning the maximum prison term in England and Wales will double from six to 12 months.


Labour pledges to invest £13.5m in nurse-led alcohol care teams


Labour has pledged that every hospital in England would have dedicated nurses to support people struggling with alcohol misuse if it wins the next election. It said it would invest £13.5m to ensure all district general hospitals have an alcohol care team made up at least three nurses.

Labour pledges to invest £13.5m in nurse-led alcohol care teams


NHS pay deal accepted by nursing and midwifery staff in Wales

Map of Wales


Nurses, midwives and other NHS staff across Wales have accepted a three-year pay deal. It will see the value of the top points in bands 2-8b rise by 6.5% cumulatively between 2018-19 and 2020-21.


Campaign launched to entice older nurses into research roles

Nurse researcher

Nurse research

Nurses and midwives in London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex who are thinking of changing careers or retiring are being encouraged to move into clinical research nursing, under the Keep Making a Difference campaign launched by the National Institute for Health Research.


Study aims to demonstrate worth of specialist children’s nurses

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity

Roald Dahl specialist children’s nurse

Patrick and his mum are supported by nurse Jennifer Anderson

A children’s charity has announced a partnership with a university to demonstrate the value of the specialist paediatric nursing posts it funds. The programme will evaluate the impact of 20 posts appointed jointly by the Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity and the NHS.


Actress praises hospice nurses who cared for her late husband

holly matthews

holly matthews

Holly Matthews

An actress whose husband died of a brain tumour last year has paid tribute to the “incredible” hospice nurses who supported the family in his final days. Holly Matthews, who has starred in Byker Grove and The Bill, spoke at a nursing conference hosted by the Brain Tumour Charity.


Three history-making sisters begin same nursing degree course

University of Suffolk

Three history-making sisters begin same nursing degree course

Source: University of Suffolk

Aleena, Anjel and Aneetta Shibu Matthew (left to right)

Three sisters are making history by beginning to study adult nursing in the same cohort at the University of Suffolk. Aneetta, Anjel, and Aleena Shibu Matthew have nursing in their blood. Their mother once studied nursing at the same university and now works in the oncology department at Ipswich Hospital.














  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.