Janet Davies will step down from her role of chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing at the end of this month, it has been revealed.
Dame Donna Kinnair, who is currently the RCN director of nursing, policy and practice, will take up Ms Davies’ former position in an acting capacity.
“It has been a great honour to represent my profession at the highest level”
The RCN said it will take an “informed decision as to the long-term executive leadership of the organisation” after it had received the full findings of a review “into the past few months’ events”.
In July, the college said it would commission an independent review into the “governance and process” that resulted in confusion and anger among nurses over their expected pay rise.
- Anger as July nurse pay packets fail to deliver expected wage increase
- RCN to commission review into how ‘pay confusion’ occurred
- RCN to hold extraordinary general meeting on pay deal in September
The move was revealed by the college with a further apology over the way it communicated the delivery of the pay deal to its members.
On 25 July, Ms Davies had issued a personal apology over concerns the NHS pay deal was not properly explained to nursing staff on Agenda for Change.
The unprecedented step by Ms Davies followed widespread anger and dismay after many nurses discovered they would be getting much less in their wage packets than expected.
All members were told they would get a 3% pay rise this summer but it subsequently turned out this was not the case with only half getting the rise straight away.
“Many of us however, remain feeling upset at how the pay deal was handled by the college”
The rest will receive an average increase of around 1.5% with more to come on their incremental date – which could be as many as 11 months down the line.
The developments sparked a petition from activists, which was signed by 1,000 members, calling for an extraordinary general meeting. The meeting is set to take place in September.
The petition also called on college leaders to stand down.
Back in May, Ms Davies had first promised that the college would look into concerns about the way the NHS pay deal has been communicated to its members, amid claims that the union had “misrepresented” the offer.
At the union’s annual congress in Belfast, nurses accused the RCN of explaining the proposed pay deal in a way that suggested staff could receive far higher wage rises than would be on offer to most. The earlier criticism was mostly focused on descriptions of incremental wage increases.
Speaking on the decision by Ms Davies to step down, Maria Trewern, chair of the RCN council, said it had been decided “by mutual agreement” with the college, and thanked her for her service.
Ms Davies joined RCN in 2005 and took up the leadership position three years ago, following the departure of Dr Peter Carter.
Ms Davies said: “It has been a great honour to represent my profession at the highest level, and I am proud of the achievements the college has made over the past three years against a difficult political backdrop.”
“The RCN and Janet Davies have decided to part ways by mutual agreement”
She added: “I wish my colleagues and our membership all the best for the future, and look forward to taking on some new challenges.”
Joining RCN in 2015, Dame Donna has more than 30 years’ nursing experience and has held a number of high-profile strategic roles across the NHS.
RCN activist Danielle Tiplady tweeted that she wished Ms Davies “well and every luck in whatever she chooses to do in the future”.
“Many of us however, remain feeling upset at how the pay deal was handled by the college and are looking forward to hearing the announcement of the date and location for the EGM where the petitioners resolution will be presented,” she said.
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “Janet was a highly effective voice for the nursing workforce and I very much appreciated her support in the formation of the Cavendish Coalition.”
He added: “We look forward to working with Dame Professor Donna Kinnair and other colleagues at the RCN through the strong partnership arrangements that we have in place with all our trade unions.”