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RCN postpones extraordinary general meeting – and explains why

‘Pressures of second COVID-19 surge’ would hinder full participation, says council chair
Empty meeting room

Pressures of second COVID-19 surge would hinder full participation, says council chair

The RCN has voted to adjourn its extraordinary general meeting (EGM), which was due to take place virtually on 27 November.

The meeting was called after a petition from at least 1,000 members was received by the college in the wake of two disqualifications in the RCN presidential election Stuart McKenzie and incumbent RCN president Dame Anne Marie Rafferty.

Council members decided to postpone the

‘Pressures of second COVID-19 surge’ would hinder full participation, says council chair

Picture: iStock

The RCN has voted to adjourn its extraordinary general meeting (EGM), which was due to take place virtually on 27 November.

The meeting was called after a petition from at least 1,000 members was received by the college in the wake of two disqualifications in the RCN presidential election – Stuart McKenzie and incumbent RCN president Dame Anne Marie Rafferty.

Council members decided to postpone the EGM because of concerns that not all members would be able to engage due to the pressures of the second wave of COVID-19.

A new date for the meeting has yet to be announced.

Action points for the EGM

RCN members will be asked to vote on two proposals in the meeting:

  • An extension of up to six months for the two-year term of office for the RCN president and deputy president, with the college citing ‘exceptional circumstances’ as the reason.
  • A comprehensive review of the governance of the college, to be led by RCN council.

RCN council chair explains reasons for meeting postponement

Dave Dawes

In a statement posted on the RCN website on 14 November, chair of RCN council Dave Dawes explained: ‘On 12 November, council voted to adjourn the general meeting currently scheduled for 27 November.

‘Council believes that holding a general meeting at this time, under the pressures of a second COVID-19 surge, would not allow for full and meaningful member participation. We have no concerns about technology or staff safety.’

He added that the council originally intended to communicate the decision once a new date for the meeting had been set, but wanted members to be informed about why the decision had been taken.

‘Immediate needs’ of RCN members take priority

‘Council recognises the concerns expressed by the 1,000 members who signed the petition for an emergency meeting and wants everyone to be assured that we will reconvene,’ he added.

‘Right now, we recognise that nursing staff are on the front line of a global and generational crisis.

‘Council wants the entire organisation to be focused on the immediate needs of all members: fair pay and safe staffing.’

He added that further information will follow shortly.

Lead petitioner Ed Freshwater said: 'This is a truly disappointing and remarkable decision by council. We had been working together for many weeks in a spirit of cooperation, but this sudden U-turn by council was a complete surprise.'

The group of petitioners is seeking legal advice over possible next steps.


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