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RCN Council February update to members

RCN Council 11 Feb 2022 RCN President Eastern

RCN Council members share their updates from the past month and detail how they are supporting members through their work. Vice-Chair of RCN Council, Mel Kerr, introduces this month’s update to members.

It seems like this month has passed so quickly, with a lot of new changes within the world of health care and nursing. I know a lot of these changes will impact you directly, and I want to take this opportunity to offer a helping hand to those who may need it. Members can find advice and support on the RCN website.

I hope you enjoy this month’s insight into the latest Council activity - updates on our professional roles and our responsibilities as RCN Council members.

I’ll start by sharing my update (East Midlands):

This month, I have been redeployed to a COVID Medicines Delivery Unit, providing monoclonal antibody infusions to COVID-positive, clinically vulnerable patients with the view to aid admission avoidance, and to try and ease some of the pressures our Trust faces with patient flow. Whilst it took some adjusting to, we have now treated close to 200 patients and had no admissions from those treated. This is a great success and has, I hope, helped my colleagues on the busy wards.

From a Council perspective, we have been having discussions about our submission of evidence to the Pay Review Body for the next NHS pay round, with a heavy focus on safe staffing levels and urging the UK Government to make nursing pay a political priority. Members will receive further updates on this soon.

Shaun Williams (Student Council Member) has been busy this month:

It’s been a busy month as I continue to integrate into my first substantive nursing post –made even busier as I embarked on several service improvement projects in the workplace, not to mention the publications I have been co-authoring during this month too. An RCN highlight this month has been being fully involved in the plans to transform the RCN Students Committee to maximise its’ potential and influence going forward. Personally, I have managed to squeeze in some time off too – which has meant long walks with my dog in the Clint Hills.  

Carol Webley-Brown (London) gives us an insight into her background in nursing:

I am the newest member of Council representing the London region, elected six months ago. I started my career as a cadet nurse. Throughout my extensive career, l have worked in many areas, my last role as a General Practice Nurse. Thirty years later, l have returned as a band 5 mental health staff nurse, working in a pilot mental health assessment unit that takes the weight off Accident and Emergency Care.

After spending over 20 years in Accident and Emergency nursing right up to clinical grade I and then working in the community as a General Manager Band 8, it is rewarding when you find a bed for a patient, or if a patient leaves you with sufficient care in the community from home treatment teams. As Council member for London, l am taking time to understand my role, and how I can represent members. I will be advancing my priorities on car parking charges and transport costs for nursing staff. Let’s start talking and make the changes we need going forward.


Richard Jones MBE (Wales) has been very active this past month:

Recently I chaired an RCN Wales Board Development Day, which featured presentations on how to retain nurses in the profession and the future of public spending in Wales over the next 5 years. As part of this, we have asked the Welsh Government for a comprehensive nursing retention strategy.

We currently are 1,719 registered nurses short across Wales in the NHS alone. I’ve created a Welsh Government petition which is about keeping patients everywhere in Wales safe and allow nursing staff to give care they are proud of. If it gets to over 10,000 signatures, we may get a Senedd debate. Please take the time to sign it and share with colleagues, family and friends.


Dr Denise Chaffer (RCN President) gives us an update:


I have continued to meet with a range of members in our Forums and members on RCN regional boards. I look forward to being able to meet together face to face again very soon.  Last week we met with the Chief Executive and Chair of the Patients Association to explore how we can work more closely together around the current nursing workforce crisis.


My recent blog focused on the current pressures on community and palliative care nurses, and the impact of nursing shortages. The blog also highlighted the recent ICN report and the scale of severe nursing shortages across the globe. The report suggests up to 13 million more nurses will be required over the next decade.


Tracey Budding (RCN Deputy President) shares her update:


This month I have been working extra shifts as a Gynae Clinical Nurse Specialist in order to support the gynaecology directorate in meeting the increasing demand on services with progressively less staff. I also gave a speech at a Westminster Health Forum conference event, where key issues for health workforce and priorities going forward were discussed by senior health leaders.


Jes Johnselvan (Eastern) updates us on his work this month:


It has been a busy month both at work and with RCN activities. At work, the main issue which took most of last months’ time was working with the Trust on vaccination as condition of deployment policy. In my role as Staff Side Chair, I spent most of the time in meetings with HR colleagues and managers as the Trust is working towards harmonization of policies following a merger. I have been taking part in various committee meetings along with other reps. I have also been supporting members through the consultation process, sickness absence reviews, and redeployment processes to meet demands.  


Geoff Earl (Scotland) gives us an insight into recent activities:


As the new year kicks in, there is no let-up in the pressure being felt by all of us working in health and social care. RCN Scotland is continuing to apply pressure on the Scottish Government to take action to address the current nurse shortages, the failure to introduce the next stage of Safe Staffing legislation, and pay. With local elections in May, all political parties would be wise to listen to nursing staff and act on what they hear. And don’t forget,  there is still time to get those resolutions into the Agenda Committee for this year’s Congress which will be held in Glasgow.


Michael Appleby (Northern) shares details of his work during the past month:

I’ve been attending fortnightly Council meetings to receive updates from the Executive Team and I attended a full Council meeting in January. Like most RCN Representatives, this month has been busy with vaccination as a condition of employment and supporting members in informal meetings - before the government announced a consultation on this requirement. I have also continued to support members within my Trust and I have attended three of our regional branch meetings this month, talking to and updating members. 

And finally, Professor Rod Thomson (West Midlands) updates us on his work:

In the West Midlands, much of our focus has been on the interlinked topics of the high infection rates of the Omicron variant and the UK Government's requirement for health staff to be vaccinated in England. In the region, we have been supporting staff who were at risk and thankfully, the government's policy change has resolved this issue after significant pressure from the RCN.

Away from my RCN roles, I have the pleasure of being a volunteer at my local hospice. And to support with infection control in my professional role, I continue to help care homes, schools and workplaces to deal with outbreaks of COVID-19. In addition, I am dealing with incidents of avian influenza in local poultry farms.


More information

To find out more about the work of RCN Council, visit our website.

Find out more about previous RCN Council meetings.

RCN Council

RCN Council provides leadership and direction for the organisation. Find out more about the work of RCN Council on our website. 

Page last updated - 11/02/2022