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Let's hope for a fresh start with Jeremy Hunt

The nursing community must lead by example during these times of uncertainty, says RCN chief executive Janet Davies 

Working in the health service prepares you for dealing with the unexpected. But even the most experienced nurse would be taken aback by the amount of uncertainty facing the country at the moment.

Following the European Union referendum result, there has been plenty of division. One of our members, Dave Dawes from the North West branch, perhaps put it best during the EU debate at this year’s congress in Glasgow when he said that following the referendum, nurses would be needed ‘like never before to help wounds heal’.

I know that the nursing community can lead by example here, as we have done so often in the past.

We are facing the same old uncertainties in the NHS around safe staffing and workforce planning. We were astonished at the recent comments made by NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackey which suggested a return to the days when finances trumped patient care. 

Nurses and patients will want reassurances that they will never again have to experience dangerous staffing levels because of finance-driven cuts. 

At a time of so much change, there is something to be said for continuity, and the RCN remains committed to working with re-appointed health secretary Jeremy Hunt. 

But we are also hopeful of a fresh start, and more positive relations with the nursing workforce than we have seen previously.

Now more than ever, we all need to work together. 

Janet Davies is RCN chief executive and general secretary 

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