News

Nurses 'will need to help country heal' following EU referendum

First debate at RCN congress tackles the impact the referendum decision will have on nursing 
Zeba Arif

Nurses have been urged to vote in this week's referendum regardless of whether they favour Britain staying or leaving the European Union.

On Thursday (23 June) the British people will decide the nation's future in the EU – and nursing stands to be significantly affected no matter the outcome.

Public health forum member Jason Warriner made the call to action as he officially proposed the first item for debate at this year’s RCN congress in Glasgow.

Make sure you vote in the referendum: Jason Warriner. Picture: John Houlihan

Health policies

He spoke passionately about the work the college has done to help set European health policies and warned it might not have been possible if Britain was not part of the EU.

Dame Betty Kershaw echoed the call to vote regardless; but warned she feared the money Britain contributes to the EU is unlikely

Nurses have been urged to vote in this week's referendum regardless of whether they favour Britain staying or leaving the European Union.

On Thursday (23 June) the British people will decide the nation's future in the EU – and nursing stands to be significantly affected no matter the outcome.

Public health forum member Jason Warriner made the call to action as he officially proposed the first item for debate at this year’s RCN congress in Glasgow.


Make sure you vote in the referendum: Jason Warriner. Picture: John Houlihan

Health policies

He spoke passionately about the work the college has done to help set European health policies and warned it might not have been possible if Britain was not part of the EU.

Dame Betty Kershaw echoed the call to vote regardless; but warned she feared the money Britain contributes to the EU is unlikely to find its way to the health service if the vote Leave campaign is victorious.

RCN member Dave Dawes chose to focus on the aftermath Britain will wake up to on Friday.

'Healing'

He believes ‘a period of healing’ will be needed to reunite communities divided by the campaigning from both sides.

He added: ‘Nurses are experts in healing and regardless of the outcome we are going to be needed like never before to help heal the wounds.’


Dave Dawes: nurses are experts in healing. Picture: John Houlihan

Emotion

Fellow member Zeba Arif’s voice cracked with emotion as she talked of the issues she had faced for 42 years of being an immigrant in this country and she urged congress to ‘vote as your heart dictates’.

Officially the RCN is remaining neutral in the debate – although it has backed the call to vote – but north east London representative Andrew McGovern told the audience his personal view was the RCN ‘should have a position on this when it is in the interests of nurses, patients and health care'.

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