It’s time for change. My name is Jeremy Benton and I’m a nurse, standing for RCN Council in the South East Region because I believe that our RCN has lost its way and no longer represents the views and aspirations of average working nurses, who make up by far the largest majority of our membership and who do not have a voice on Council. I intend to change that.
I am standing for Council because the recent pay negotiations, widely promoted by both the government and our own leaders, turned out in reality to be very different to what we were led to believe. This badly misrepresented and disappointing pay settlement sparked enough anger among members to result in a successful petition for an Extraordinary General Meeting – only the second in our RCN’s history – and force the resignation of the Council members who approved the settlement, leading to these elections. I am one of the members who signed that petition.
Because average working nurses don’t feel represented, they don’t feel that our RCN and its activities is relevant to them and I believe that this, in part, is why so few of us take an interest in important matters such as elections and ballots of the membership.
Because I am a working nurse and I talk to other nurses every day, I have drawn up a platform based on what you, my nurse colleagues, have told me is important. I have listened.
I have four simple proposals which reflect what I have been told:
Re-engaging with members by returning control and funding to branches and forums, making Council and other meetings open to members and restoring openness, transparency and accountability across our RCN;
Strengthening our trade union by making the position of General Secretary elected, full time and paid and making our trade union an independent part of our RCN, reporting to Council; doubling the number of workplace representatives and negotiating with private healthcare providers to achieve recognition;
Strengthening the professional activities of our RCN by appointing a Director of Nursing, reporting to Council, to reform our RCN Institute and reinstate it as the domestic and international leader in nursing research and practice;
Strengthening the voice of our RCN by appointing a Director of Communications to lead a new, independent, Communications Department, using outside agencies as necessary to ensure that our voice is heard and that all members are kept properly informed.
If you want to be listened to, if you want to have a voice, then vote for change. Vote for me. Thank you.