Bernell Bussue has been Regional Director at RCN London since 2005. Bernell has a clinical background in cardio-thoracic and intensive care nursing and spent five years working in the Middle East earlier in his career, returning to the UK private sector and later to the NHS where he held senior positions managing surgery and orthopaedic units, before time as an Operations Manager in Child & Adolescent Mental Health.
The result of the referendum on Britain’s future in Europe could have profound effects for everyone working in nursing and all of our patients here in London.
The referendum has brought particular instability for nursing colleagues who originally moved here from other parts of the EU and may have wider implications for other international nurse recruits. The immigration rules which will result from our new relationship with Europe remain unclear.
One thing is certain though: the RCN values all our members, whether you are originally from the UK, Europe or further afield. The NHS, particularly here in London, has heavily relied on the contribution of health care professionals from around the world. None of that will change with recent events.
The RCN will do everything we can to support European members through this time and we will continue to speak up for the magnificent contribution you make for this country’s patients.
It is not yet clear what the vote to leave the EU will mean in practice. The NHS was used in argument by both sides throughout the campaign. Many wild promises were made about how to increase the funding available for the health service, most prominently the Leave Campaign’s pledge that exiting the EU would mean an extra £350m for the NHS. It is clear now that that promise was totally unfounded.
Whatever happens we will soon have a new Prime Minister and a new Government. The health service has already had years of squeezed resources, not least a counter-productive NHS pay freeze which drove many people to choose agency work rather than permanent contracts. The priority must be for nursing staff to be properly funded to provide a 21st Century standard of care to a growing and ageing population.
The context for all NHS nursing staff will be driven by the Chief Nurse for England’s new nursing strategy, “Leading Change Adding Value”, which was launched here at the RCN in May. We all have a responsibility to make sure a commitment to diversity is reflected in the way the new strategy is delivered. Nursing staff must continue to take positive action to address inequalities, bullying, racism and discrimination wherever they occur.
The most worrying upshot of the referendum has been an increase in reports of hate crime. This is completely unacceptable. If you or a colleague are a victim of abuse, whether it is from patients, the public, or someone you work with, then 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.
Bernell Bussue, SEN, RMN, RGN, DMS, MBA.