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, 25 October 2010

The blog below was originally published on the Frontline First website. Please visit to join in this crucial campaign.

I’m writing this blog having just travelled back from the Conservative Party Conference, where the RCN’s response to the White Paper was a hot topic of discussion.

As many of you will have already seen, the RCN has enjoyed a high profile with the health media over the last two days. I believe this is a testament to how respected and important your voice has become.

We issued our response to the hugely important White Paper on Monday and it’s fair to say it was an honest, frank and intelligent reaction to the radical proposals planned for the NHS. We welcomed the principles in the Paper, such as the drive towards a patient centred health service, greater control for health professionals and more available information on providers and clinicians.

However, all radical changes come with risk; the White Paper is no exception. Couple this with the fact that the NHS in England is being asked to save £20bn by 2014 and the changes look even harder to implement successfully.

One of our biggest concerns relates to the sheer importance of piloting the many proposals within the White Paper. If £80bn is to be handed over to GPs for the commissioning of services, we think it essential that this model is at least piloted to see if it will work.

Then of course there is nurse leadership, which is noticeably absent from the White Paper. The role of the nurse has changed dramatically in the last 15 years, with large numbers taking on important responsibilities for the financial health of organisations. With the planned abolition of PCTs and SHAs, we are very concerned as to what nurse leadership will look like post-White Paper, as these structures have allowed nurses to progress up the career ladder.

If you want more information, you can read our full response and its executive summary from our dedicated White Paper micro-site, as well as watching a video blog with our Head of Policy, Howard Catton.

Despite our concerns relating to the proposals, we can be proud of how loud the nursing voice has been this week and how much it has been heard. Much of this is down to you; through this website you told us what you thought of the changes, and we listened.

The months ahead will be critical for the future of the NHS and thanks to your input and expertise we will ensure that nursing is at the very heart of the debate.

Thank you.