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Enough is enough

Carmel O'Boyle 25 Oct 2022 Safe staffing

Regional Board Chair Carmel O'Boyle says enough is enough. Patient care is suffering because our members are suffering! 

I am conflicted at the moment, so many emotions and thoughts running through my brain.


I am saddened that we are in the position that we need to take action to highlight the effect that inappropriate pay has on patient care, fearful of the winter ahead.  Many of you have told me about your worries and how the cost-of-living crisis is impacting on your lives, your families and your patients.  But I am also proud, that we are embarking on historical action, that after years of austerity and below inflation pay awards, the nursing profession is standing up and shouting.  Enough is enough, patient care is suffering because our members are suffering!


Standing outside the Labour Party Conference earlier this month showed us that we have public support and solidarity from our local MPs.  All agreeing that patient care is our priority and at the heart of all we do, but that nurses using foodbanks is a national disgrace. Seeing our members come together for action was a proud moment and testament to what we can achieve when we stand together.


Listening to the hardships of people from all walks of life and different industries at the Enough is Enough Rally was heart-breaking but shows how important our ballot is. With poverty comes deteriorating health outcomes and we will need all the nurses we can get to combat these. Our government must listen to us, for the sake of the health of the nation.   


I had the privilege of attending our regional Black History Month conference, ‘Anti-Racism: Allyship and Advocacy, and also our Joint Reps Conference. Both allowed me to hear your stories and I was appalled and moved in equal measure.  Stories of how my BAME colleagues have suffered direct and institutional racism throughout the NHS and care sector. It has made me think about my own practice and if I don’t see these things because I am ignorant, because it is so submerged that I don’t notice or whether people’s behaviours change around me.  But I cannot deny the lived experience of my colleagues and I know that it is not enough to say ‘I am not racist’, I must be Anti-Racist in order to be a true ally, to call out poor behaviour so that we can all work towards a fairer society, fairer workplaces and better treatment of our BAME colleagues.  I am excited that our region has started a multi-cultural nurses’ network and look forward to learning, I pledge to be a better ally and a better colleague, a better friend.


Our healthcare family hosts a wide variety of skills and as we celebrate Nursing Support Workers Day we acknowledge that we are a team and we all need each other so that we can do what we do best – care for our patients. The region is holding an interactive event on Wednesday 23 November and you will receive an email early next month with all the details to keep an eye out for this.  I also look forward to seeing your celebrations from across the North West.


Plans are underway for Congress next year and we are looking forward to travelling to Brighton. The applications for voting places are now open and I urge you to get involved with your branches, submit agenda items and take part.  Congress voting member applications will close on Wednesday 7 December 2022, and agenda submissions on Thursday 5 January 2023. Congress is where the most important subjects pertinent to us, the members of the RCN, are discussed and we set the workstreams for RCN council and committees. I love the meeting of minds and the debate that Congress brings, showing members with passion for patient care and member welfare, it is a great event to be involved in.


As the deadline approaches for our historic ballot, I urge you to vote and allow your voice to be heard.  In these uncertain times we must remain a certainty for our patients, always there in their time of need, but our government must give us the tools to do that - fair pay so that we can recruit new staff, retain those with years of experience and skills to ensure the nursing profession is there for everyone when we need it.

Carmel O'Boyle

Carmel O'Boyle

Chair of North West Regional Board

Carmel has been a member of the RCN since her days as a student nurse. Currently employed as a nurse practitioner in a walk-in centre, Carmel is also the Chair of the Greater Liverpool & Knowsley branch. 

Page last updated - 25/10/2022