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RCN Eastern Region

Karen Webb, Regional Director

Karen Webb trained at UCH London and has been a registered nurse since 1987.  In a career specialising in the care of older adults, she has held Ward Manager and Senior Nurse posts before joining the nurse teaching staff at North London College of Health Studies and Middlesex University to teach undergraduate and postgraduate nursing and social policy.

 Her love of empowering others and advocacy brought her into the RCN as a steward, then Regional Officer, working through different roles including Head of Policy and now Karen leads RCN nursing in the Eastern region.

Karen tweets as @KWebbRCN 

A message from Senior Officer Adrian Ing

September is always a busy month for the Royal College of Nursing’s team in the Eastern region. We’ve all been out visiting universities across all our counties, welcoming new nursing students and talking about the RCN’s work. It’s been fantastic to meet so many new starters in recent weeks and we’ve all been inspired and encouraged by the enthusiasm we’ve seen among the new faces and the huge potential you hold for the health services of the future.

Whether you’re a new student or an old(ish) hand, it’s always worth remembering that the RCN is there to support you through your studies – and far beyond.

We’ve been busy telling you all about our fantastic Library and Heritage Centre and how it can help you with your uni work. You’ve also heard about how we support students in the workplace, looking out for your interests and helping you out if you find yourself in difficulty. The full range of RCN resources, opportunities and events is available by visiting our student web pages.

And let’s not forget RCN Xtra – make sure you’re signed up to this great way to get member discounts on everything from your shopping to cinema visits to train tickets, and much more.

But what often gets forgotten is the ongoing support the RCN provides as you move into work and your career progresses. You won’t be a student forever (though sometimes it might feel that way, such as during a particularly long lecture on a Friday afternoon!). We’re here to help you when applying for that all important first job, but it won’t be long before you’re thinking about your professional development. If you’re looking for career progression or moving to a more senior role, we can help.

The RCN has a wealth of resources to help throughout your career and we’re always happy to provide support to our members to achieve whatever you want to achieve.

We wish you all the best in your studies – and your future careers. Let us help you fulfil that great potential we saw when we met you all. You are the future of nursing.

Adrian Ing

October 2016

A message from our Operational Manager Teresa Budrey

NHS set to change again

The landscape of the NHS is set to change dramatically. Again.

It would be easy to dismiss the sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) being drawn up across our region and the whole of England as just another fiddling at the edges of the NHS. If there is one thing that those of us working in the NHS are used to it is change.

But these plans have the potential to vastly change the environments you work in and the services received by patients.

Already there are reports from some areas of England that the plans will include proposed ward closures, cuts in bed numbers and changes to the way care is delivered in A&E and GP practices.

Until we have the detail of the plans we can only guess at what is to come, but the RCN will be fully engaged in consultations over the plans and follow closely how they will affect our members.

The aim of STPs is to bring local health and care leaders, organisations and communities together to help plan and sustain local health services for the next five years. The plans should include a focus on improving health and wellbeing, but this is set against a backdrop of tough financial times and an NHS already struggling with demand and cutbacks.

At the forefront of our minds must be the need for staffing to remain at safe levels – both for patients and nurses already working under intense pressure. We can only deliver great care with the right number of skilled professionals working in the right settings.

Any potential risk to patient safety is extremely serious and the RCN will always work to ensure that safe staffing remains a top priority, at a local level and right through to the Government. 

It is vital that nursing staff are actively involved and engaged in the transformation plans, from their point of conception through to their delivery. 

Nursing skills and knowledge will play a key part in ensuring this latest earthquake in the NHS landscape has as few tremors as possible.

Teresa Budrey

September 2016

A message from our Regional Director Karen Webb

Abuse of nursing colleagues unacceptable - Let's stand with our EU staff

The result of the recent EU referendum vote to leave the European Union is already leading to uncertainty for our much-valued EU nurses working in hospitals, care homes, as community nurses and in our education institutions across the East of England.

The most concerning result of the referendum has been an increase in reported hate crime, with attacks targeted at the homes and businesses of those who have moved to our region from overseas. To say this is totally unacceptable is a massive understatement and we wholeheartedly condemn any prejudice or abuse directed at nursing staff and, indeed, anyone who finds themselves the target of abuse.

It distresses me to think that some of our much-valued colleagues from inside and beyond the EU are experiencing abuse in our region. While this is a time of major uncertainty for us all, there should be zero tolerance of this sort of behaviour towards any and all black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff and RCN members.

I would urge anyone who has concerns of this nature to come to us for support. If you or a colleague are a victim of abuse, whether it is from patients, the public, or someone you work with, the RCN will stand with you. If you need support or guidance please in the first instance contact RCN Direct on 03457726100 where our trained advisers can help you.

Another impact of the referendum result is the uncertainty it has caused for job security. Will staff who have come from EU countries – often as a result of recruitment drives launched by trusts – be allowed to continue to live and work here once separation from the EU is complete?

Sadly, we do not yet know the answer in the longer term. But in the short-term you should be reassured that we do not expect any changes to be made for some time as the complex operation of removing ourselves from the EU pans out.

Nursing staff from the EU are a highly valued lifeline for the NHS and independent and private sectors. Because the UK has failed to train enough nurses in the UK and one in three of the current nursing workforce may retire within the next five years, we will continue to rely on them for many years to come and must all do our utmost to support our diverse staff colleagues in all roles.

We also need a team of nursing staff and leaders who are reflective of the diversity within the UK, including BAME members and internationally recruited nurses across the range of roles and salaries. These future nursing leaders are all within your current Band 5 nursing workforce and nurturing ALL their talents is vital if we are to demonstrate authentic leadership and inclusivity.

When negotiations begin on the UK’s exit from the EU it is vital that everyone involved understands exactly how vital this workforce is to our country – especially as it now appears the promised £350 million-a-week for the NHS will not materialise.

The RCN will continue to press for fair treatment for all nurses and for a secure long-term supply of staff to protect patient safety. I hope you will all join with me in support of our EU colleagues at this difficult time.

Karen Webb

July 2016