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HCAs granted full membership of RCN

  • 56 Comments

The Royal College of Nursing has voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing full membership for healthcare support workers.

At its annual general meeting yesterday, the college approved a motion enabling “health practitioners” such as healthcare assistants to become full members. They will also be represented by two seats on the RCN council.

The motion was passed with 22,979 members in favour, accounting for 81.2% of the total vote.

Sandra James, who completed her second two-year term as chair of the council yesterday, said the new arrangement for HCAs was modelled on the status given to student nurses, and means healthcare assistants will vote for their two council representatives. However, they will not be able to contest the RCN council’s regional seats.

Previously healthcare assistants were only allowed to become associate members of the college, and had no representation on the RCN council.

Proposing the motion yesterday afternoon, Ms James said: “This is something we really want to change, to reflect the realities of modern nursing… we hope it provides HCAs with the appropriate level of influence.”

However, some RCN members expressed reservations. Former president Maura Buchanan said: “We have to look at what this organisation is about,” emphasising its focus on nursing as a profession. “You will end up with a split organisation, and members leaving,” she warned.

Former RCN council member John Hill said the resolution did not go far enough, as he would not be able to vote a healthcare assistant onto the council himself.

Linda Bailey, of the outer north east London branch, said that while she strongly supported the motion, the issue had been confused by establishing two council seats for healthcare practitioners.

At last year’s AGM, a motion to allow “all members of the nursing family” to become full RCN members was blocked after failing to win a two-thirds majority.

  • 56 Comments

Readers' comments (56)

  • Why exactly? HCA's are not Nurses?

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  • So that the RCN can continue to have a membership now that all the qualified staff are leaving for proper staff organisations and support.

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  • "enabling “health practitioners” such as healthcare assistants to become full members" So, what other health practitioners are we talking about here. Perhaps a name change is now in order. The Royal College of People who can't join anywhere else? Why should HCAs have full membership when students can't?

    The only reason I stay with the RCN (I work in the independent sector) is because a lot of clients insist on the RCN insurance. For some reason they think RCN insurance is good - they're ill-informed. It doesn't cover me for most of what I do and my own insurance is FAR superior (and cheaper). It seems to me that the RCN is now just a propoganda machine that's struggling to keep up its numbers.

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  • thats why iam a higher clinical support worker with 28 years total care in all sectors have come out R C N its a farce!!!! we are trained and updated more but not respected unless the nurses havent the time to do the jobs then we are human and they need our help taking bloods because no doctors about its all one sided now i have restricted myself to basic care and let them suffer as we are nobody only there slaves

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  • Anonymous | 27-Oct-2011 1:10 pm

    ' i have restricted myself to basic care and let them suffer '

    Great attitude!!! Very professional!! But, I do agree that the RCN is a farce.

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  • Anonymous | 27-Oct-2011 1:10 pm

    I think your comments strengthen my belief that the RCN has made a grave error in allowing HCA’s full membership, and I’m so glad I left and joined Unison as I have nothing in common with anyone who holds attitudes akin to yours.

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  • at last some good news for healthcare workers,Happy that somebody will represent us.

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  • Anonymous | 27-Oct-2011 2:52 pm

    I think that you are in for a shock if you believe the RCN represent their members well, I suggest you read some of the comments on this and other websites to see how poor the RCN as a union really is.

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  • Anonymous | 27-Oct-2011 1:10 pm
    ' i have restricted myself to basic care and let them suffer '

    I think that you are using the term 'care' very loosely and this illustrates why the RCN have made a bad move. Irrespective of your 28 years, you hold no professional registration and all of the care you deliver is ultimately the responsibility of the nurse that is supervising your work.

    That's why the nursing staff on a busy ward are often run ragged if there are HCA's with simmilar opinions to yours, it's because they have professional accountability but more importantly do 'care' - if it doesn't get done, the patient will be the one who is left waiting unless someone else does it.

    OK, work as a team, support your Nurses in the work they have to do. I rely on my HCA as there are not enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done. I have the utmost trust and respect for my HCA and work alongside him / her to get the job finished in a way that 'we' can be proud of. But then the HCA's I work with don't display the attitude in your post.

    Petty politics of 'letting them suffer' (either patients or your colleagues) to prove a point have no place. Although you have no legal responsibility to do the roles such as taking blood, you have been trained to do so and that is in the interests of good quality and timely care for your patient.


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  • RCN obviously in some financial trouble having lost so many qualified nurses of late.

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