RCN London had a successful Congress in Bournemouth this week, with several hundred members from the region in attendance.
A large number contributed from the Agenda platform and in the other events through the week. Inner North East London Branch proposed the agenda item on the health benefits of music. You can watch still watch videos of the debates on the RCN Congress website.
The regional reception took place at the Queen’s Hotel on the Monday evening, with around 250 members there. This year’s merit award was won by Karen Sanders, and long service awards went to Karen Barrett and Marjorie Simpson.
Our guest speakers for the event were Jennette Arnold and Dr Onkar Sahota from the London Assembly. Jennnette is Assembly Member for North East London and Chair of the Assembly. Prior to entering politics, Jennette worked as a nurse and then at the RCN in London. Dr Sahota is the Assembly Member for Ealing and Hillingdon and also chairs the Assembly Health Committee.
With elections coming up in May 2016 for the London Assembly and Mayor, Jennette and Onkar were able to explain to members a bit more about what the Assembly does and its role in supporting nursing staff and health care more generally. Both joined us at Congress for two days so were able to spend time with RCN members working in many different health care settings right across the region.
Bronagh Scott, Deputy Chief Nurse at NHS England (London) also joined us as guest for the week. Bronagh said she was most impressed by the level and breadth of knowledge members put forward in the Congress Hall: “I was in awe of the level of some of the debates and how nurses at all levels are able to articulate, in a professional way, what it is that matters to them as professional carers”.
History of Nursing Event
On the Tuesday evening Mark Farmer, Senior RCN Officer for South East London, spoke at the History of Nursing Society event about nursing during World War One. The event commemorated those RCN members that died during the First World War and who are remembered in an exhibition at RCN Library and Heritage Centre, which Mark has organised together with Dianne Yarwood.
Finally, everyone in the region was pleased to see local member Cecilia Anim’s first Congress as President go so well. Cecilia chairs our Inner North Central London Branch and was elected President at the end of last year. In her opening speech to Congress, Cecilia promised to speak up for all nursing staff, saying: “Let us make sure people hear what our patients tell us - that we make a difference every day. Let us proclaim with courage, and with pride: We are the nursing team!"
Thanks from everyone at the region go to RCN London Operational Manager Sue Tarr and Regional Administrator Zoe Jammeh who helped organise the attendance of so many members.
Thanks also go to every London member, including many first time attendees, who took part in the debates and spoke from the platform, helping to make the week such a success.