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NHS pay deal confusion: RCN acting head moves to quell unrest before crunch meeting

Dame Donna Kinnair promises the RCN will accept independent review recommendations following NHS pay rise controversy

Dame Donna Kinnair promises the RCN will accept independent review's recommendations following NHS pay rise controversy


Photo: John Houlihan

The RCN has promised to accept the recommendations of an independent review of how it explained the NHS pay deal for England to members.

The review has not concluded yet but acting general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair today made the commitment in an email to members – and admitted the college needed to 'listen better'. Professor Kinnair took over from Janet Davies, who stood down last week.

‘Our communication was not up to standard’

In her first direct communication to RCN members in her new role, Professor Kinnair wrote: ‘Whatever the conclusions of the review, we already know the RCN’s processes around the pay deal and its communication were not up to the standards you the membership should expect.’

She confirmed the review findings will be published ahead of an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on 28 September in Birmingham, at which members will discuss the issue. The meeting was arranged after a petition signed by more than 1,000 members called for a vote of no confidence in the RCN leadership over its handling of the NHS pay deal.

A college spokesperson told Nursing Standard the review findings will inform the debate at the EGM, before any vote takes place.

‘We are here to serve you – and in order to do that to our best ability, I think we need to listen better than we have been’

In her email, Professor Kinnair continued: ‘The review period has also allowed us to take a broader look at the college’s structures and activities.

‘Whilst I know there are many things that the college does well, I think there is much that could be improved – in particular around engaging with and listening to our members.

Promise of lasting changes

‘In the next few weeks we will be announcing some substantive and lasting changes to better connect the college with its members, and to make sure that we are working with you to deliver the services that you want and find most useful.’

She added: ‘We are here to serve you – and in order to do that to our best ability, I think we need to listen better than we have been. This change begins now, and I assure you we are listening.’

Controversy arose over the pay deal when it emerged some nurses were surprised not to see a pay rise they had been expecting in July.

The resulting furore led to an apology by Janet Davies before she stepped down.


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