There will no keynote speech by a minister at this year’s Royal College of Nursing annual congress, it has been confirmed to Nursing Times.
Instead, the college said it wanted to focus on issues directly affecting its members and discussions around the recommendations in the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Public Inquiry report.
An RCN spokeswoman said: “We do not have a political speaker this year.
“We haven’t invited anyone from government and they haven’t asked to come,” she said.
Among the keynote speakers at the conference are Lord Willis of Knaresborough, who compiled an independent report for the college on nurse education.
Austin Thomas, the lead nurse at the 2012 London Paralympics, will also give a speech.
At last year’s congress, the then health secretary Andrew Lansley received a frosty response from delegates.
He was not booed, but his attempts to deny that cuts were being made to staffing and services were met with jeers and laughter at times.
The previous year nurses had accused Mr Lansley of not having “the guts” to face congress.
Instead of addressing the full conference in 2011, he met with a select group of 50 RCN members, as part of the government’s “listening exercise” to hear concerns about its planned reforms in the Health and Social Care Bill.
This year’s RCN Congress will be held in Liverpool later this month, from 21-25 April.