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Don’t forget about us – independent sector nurses issue plea to RCN

Nurses in care homes and other sectors outside the NHS feel neglected by RCN

Nurses in care homes and other sectors outside the NHS feel neglected by RCN, college's congress hears

  • Non-NHS membership of RCN has grown to about 20% of total
  • Perceptions of independent sector nursing need to change
David Boyle
David Boyle: 'Where are the campaigns for higher pay and better conditions for RCN
members in social care?’ Picture: John Houlihan

Independent sector nurses say they often feel neglected by the RCN and have called on the college to ‘rebalance’ its resources to reflect their needs.

David Boyle, a nurse with a private mental healthcare provider, told RCN congress there were many misconceptions about nurses working outside the NHS.

‘People make remarks like: “What do you expect from failed NHS nurses?” and: "Don’t work for the independent sector – you’ll lose your PIN",' he said.

Non-NHS RCN membership

He added that up to December 2017 RCN membership in the NHS fell for the second year running while non-NHS membership grew to about 20% of the total.

‘But where are the campaigns for higher pay and better conditions for RCN members in social care?’, he asked.

Issac Theophilos, an older people’s nurse, said it was in the interests of NHS nurses to do more to include their independent sector colleagues in the RCN. 

‘If you don’t involve care homes in your discussions they will continue to send frail older residents to hospital,’ he said.

Andrew Turner, a final-year learning disability nursing student, pointed out that half of all learning disability nurses work in the independent sector without having the title of 'nurse’.

‘The RCN needs to support learning disability nurses in the independent sector or risk losing them from the nursing profession which would have a knock-on effect on the people we care for,' he said.

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