Welcome to my Blog. I hope you find the posts interesting, informative and perhaps even entertaining(!). I'll update this Blog with my responses to topical stories of the day, important news and tales of my travels up and down the UK, meeting our inspirational nursing staff.

The RCN represents almost 400,000 nurses in the UK and is the country's largest nursing union.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Raising concerns, raising standards...

On Monday we learnt that struck off nurse Margaret Haywood would have her punishment reduced to a one year caution and she is therefore now allowed to return to work.

Margaret had helped in the undercover filming of a Panorama documentary to expose shocking standards of patient care. She was struck off by the NMC in April for breaching patient confidentiality. Whilst we believe that patient confidentiality is exceptionally important, so too is the ability to speak out against poor care, free from fear of retribution.

Margaret was a dedicated nurse with an unblemished career who simply wanted to get back to nursing, so we were very happy with the result.

In May this year we launched its ‘Raising Concerns, Raising Standards’ hotline (0345 7726 300) which gives RCN members the opportunity to register patient safety concerns after following the normal internal procedures. The hotline is confidential and will protect our members who call and make sure the appropriate action is then taken.

This is undoubtedly a good start and I’m proud that the RCN has taken the lead on this hugely important issue, however – more needs to be done.

Over the weeks and months before the next General Election, the RCN will be calling on all political parties to protect those who speak out about patient safety. We believe that all healthcare organisations should be required to hold a register of staff concerns that must be reported to their Board regularly and made available to the public.

If we’re going to protect those who seek to improve patient care we need a united approach that helps all healthcare workers, not just RCN members.

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