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Members divided over whether college should rejoin ICN

International Council of Nurses ‘offers RCN a global seat’, but some question its function

International Council of Nurses ‘offers RCN a global seat’, but some question its function


Former RCN president Andrea Spyropoulos told congress she had seen no evidence
that the ICN had changed. Picture: John Houlihan

RCN congress has reignited the debate on whether the college should rejoin the International Council of Nurses (ICN).

Members voted to leave the ICN in 2013, following a dispute over the annual membership fee.

‘Less than  a cup of coffee’

RCN Devon branch member Jeni Watts told the discussion in Liverpool on Monday that much had changed since the RCN quit the organisation.


Jeni Watts addressing congress.
Picture: John Houlihan

At the time, the full cost of the RCN’s membership subscription of almost £615,000 was a bone of contention, but Ms Watts pointed out that this now amounted to just £1.42 per RCN member.

Later Joan Pons Laplana commented that this was less than the cost of a cup of coffee at congress, and argued that it was worth it because the RCN needed to have a seat where global nurses met.

But other speakers disagreed. John Hill of Humber branch said few nurses knew what the ICN did, while some had never even heard of it.

‘How does the ICN function?’

Inner NE London branch member Danielle Tiplady also argued against rejoining, saying: ‘One issue is transparency. I have no idea how this organisation functions.’

Former RCN president Andrea Spyropolous said she had seen no evidence that the ICN had changed since the RCN left.

RCN UK stewards committee member Anne Wells told congress nurses joined the RCN not because of what happened on the world stage, but for indemnity insurance and protection if they found themselves in trouble. ‘Okay, let’s look at this but let’s also look at affiliating to the Trades Union Congress,’ she said.

Read all the latest from RCN congress


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