RCN pledge to make 'nursing voice heard' following Brexit vote
The RCN has pledged to make the voice of nurses heard, after the UK voted to leave the European Union.
Within hours of the result prime minister David Cameron announced he would be stepping down by October.
But health organisations have warned that at this stage it is ‘impossible’ to predict the impact the public vote will have on the NHS and its workers.
The RCN, which maintained a neutral stance in the run-up to the referendum, said it was committed to ensuring nurses would continue to be heard on national and international nursing issues in the wake of the Brexit vote.
An RCN spokesperson said: ‘The RCN will continue to work closely with our sister nursing organisations across Europe, as we have done for many years.
‘Once there is greater clarity, the RCN will take forward work to consider the impact of leaving for both nursing and the RCN, to ensure that the voice of nursing is heard in future negotiations to leave the EU.’
Meanwhile, other health unions which supported the remain campaign have voiced their dismay at the referendum result.
The Royal College of Midwives insisted it would ‘redouble efforts’ to safeguard members, and was particularly concerned on how the changes would affect the thousands of midwives and nurses from other EU countries working in the NHS.
‘The vote is likely to result in a period of considerable uncertainty for the UK,’ an RCM statement read.
‘The RCM will redouble its efforts to safeguard its members’ employment rights, the status of the profession, and women’s maternity entitlements and protections.
‘We will also be seeking assurances about the position and future of the many valued EU citizens who work in the NHS.’
Dave Prentis, general secretary of pro-remain Unison, said his union would be working to hold leave campaigners to their campaign pledges of more money for the NHS and protected working rights.
‘The people have spoken, and they have made a clear call for change – and a different relationship with Europe,’ he added.
NHS Confederation said was ‘impossible’ to predict the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the EU on the NHS at this stage.
Chief executive Stephen Dalton said: ‘The NHS has broadly benefited from being in the EU and leaving it will undoubtedly have implications which are yet to be clearly understood.
‘Clearly it is vital that our government seeks a strong, nuanced agreement with the European Union that recognises how interwoven NHS and EU policies have become.'