As we approach the festive season and Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I would invite you to pause and celebrate our dedicated nurses. By now many of us will be occupied with present-buying, stocking up the kitchen cupboards or looking forward to Christmas Eve carol services, and those who are able to will be making plans to spend time with loved ones. However, illness and disease do not recognise holidays, religious or otherwise, and as our nursing colleagues do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week all year round, on Christmas morning they will be as on every other day be bringing compassion and expert care to those in need here in the UK and across the globe.
This year I am delighted that RCN London membership has increased to over 60,000, which is a tremendous achievement and testament to both the strong reputation of the RCN and the efforts of members and staff who actively recruit members throughout the year.
We also have some of the most engaged and active members in the country, as was demonstrated throughout our summer of protest and the rallies held across the capital. People came from all over the country to campaign to scrap the cap, which the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt finally agreed to do in October. The RCN has set out clear expectations for the government and we go into 2018 continuing to fight to ensure that a decent pay rise is delivered and comes from increased funding and does not have any unfair conditions attached.
Sadly we have seen tragedy unfold in London this year, as terror attacks across the city callously stole the lives of innocent victims. One of these was our member, Kirsty Bowden, a committed and passionate nurse who was killed when she instinctively ran to the aid of those injured on London Bridge in June. Our colleagues in the emergency services across the capital responded as they always do with the utmost bravery and professionalism. We extend thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of all those who lost their lives during 2017 and who will be absent for this year’s Christmas and New Year celebrations.
As the festive period invites us to reflect upon what is important, in what is my last Christmas message to the region [before I retire at the end of March 2018], on behalf of RCN London I would like to extend our deepest thanks to all nursing and healthcare staff for keeping the health service going every hour of every day. You help patients maintain their dignity, offer warmth and understanding and make sure patients still feel like people, bringing compassion and humanity to even the most challenging and demanding situations.
I wish you all a restful, happy Christmas period and best wishes for the year ahead.
Bernell Bussue, SEN, RMN, RGN, DMS, MBA
Regional Director, RCN London