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Election of RCN president: college announces it will start process from scratch

Dame Donna Kinnair moves to assure membership after resignations and disqualifications
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Dame Donna Kinnair moves to assure membership after resignations and disqualifications

This story was originally published on 2 September, and updated on 3 September 2020

The RCN will start a fresh election for its next president after the remaining two candidates for the post withdrew.

Move follows disqualification of other candidates

The college had suspended the original election process after it disbarred current president Anne Marie Rafferty and mental health nurse Stuart McKenzie from the campaign over claims about breaches of election rules .

The chair and vice-chair of the RCN's ruling council resigned shortly after the election was halted. Tonight council member Dave Dawes announced on Twitter that he had been elected chair of RCN council

Dame Donna Kinnair moves to assure membership after resignations and disqualifications

This story was originally published on 2 September, and updated on 3 September 2020


The RCN is hoping to resolve concerns over its presidential election

The RCN will start a fresh election for its next president after the remaining two candidates for the post withdrew.

Move follows disqualification of other candidates

The college had suspended the original election process after it disbarred current president Anne Marie Rafferty and mental health nurse Stuart McKenzie from the campaign over claims about breaches of election rules.

The chair and vice-chair of the RCN's ruling council resigned shortly after the election was halted. Tonight council member Dave Dawes announced on Twitter that he had been elected chair of RCN council saying it was 'an incredible honour'. Carol Popplestone has been elected vice chair.   

Mr Dawes said: 'I’m determined to make sure the voice of members is heard and believe we can achieve great things if we work together. I’m confident I can help steer the organisation through the immediate challenges it faces, so we emerge stronger and focused on the priorities that matter most to members. The RCN works best when it listens to and speaks for all our members and I will be starting that direct dialogue straightaway.’

RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair told members via email: ‘I recognise that for many of you the events of the past few weeks will have been confusing and, in some cases, concerning.’

Read Professor Kinnair's full statement here

RCN members call for an extraordinary general meeting 

Professor Kinnair confirmed that the two remaining candidates for president - who were Yvonne Coghill and Julie Green - had decided to pull out of the race.

Both were investigated but exonerated after complaints that they had breached the election process.

A statement issued by Ms Coghill describes 'the most horrendous and soul-destroying bullying and harassment' they had received on social media.

Read the full statement here

What happens now?

New RCN council chair Dave Dawes has outlined four key priorities:

  1. To create a cohesive team on RCN council 
  2. To rebuild trust between RCN council and the executive directors 
  3. To rebuild trust between RCN members and the executive directors 
  4. To re-establish the authority of RCN council in the eyes of the membership. 

Professor Kinnair promised: ‘I will work with the newly elected chair to ensure the election process is taken forward as swiftly and smoothly as possible.'

She confirmed a petition for an extraordinary general meeting, organised by RCN mental health forum chair Ed Freshwater, had been received and said she 'fundamentally supports' members’ right to be heard.


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