RCN chief steps down in wake of row over 'misrepresented' NHS pay deal

Janet Davies leaves union after nurses wages rise by only half of promised amount on average

Tom Barnes
Monday 20 August 2018 21:05
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Janet Davies had been at the helm of the RCN for the past three years
Janet Davies had been at the helm of the RCN for the past three years

The head of the trade union and professional body which represents 435,000 nurses, midwives and students has stepped down in the face of criticism over how it sold the NHS pay deal to its members.

Janet Davies had already issued an apology last month after previously telling members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), that they would receive an immediate three per cent pay rise this summer.

Ms Davies, who was also general secretary of the organisation, offered a “sincere personal apology” in a statement released in July, admitting the pay deal was “not as straightforward as we said”.

The RCN had initially claimed all nurses would receive the three per cent uplift in their July salaries. Only workers at the top of their pay bands saw their pay boosted by that amount.

On average, nurses only saw their pay increase by 1.5 per cent, which prompted a successful petition by more than 1,600 RCN members for a vote of no confidence in its leadership.

The RCN announced Ms Davies would step down from her roles at the union by the end of August.

“The RCN and Janet Davies have decided to part ways by mutual agreement,” said Maria Trewern, chairwoman of the RCN council. “We thank her for all her service to the college as chief executive and general secretary over the past three years, and wish her well.”

Ms Davies said: “It has been a great honour to represent my profession at the highest level, and I am proud of the achievements the college has made over the past three years against a difficult political backdrop. I wish my colleagues and our membership all the best for the future, and look forward to taking on some new challenges.“

Ms Davies joined the RCN in 2005 and had been head of the organisation for the past three years.

She will be replaced by Dame Professor Donna Kinnair, who will assume the role of acting chief executive and general secretary.

The RCN said it is “awaiting the full findings of a review into the past few months' events” and will then “take an informed decision as to the long-term executive leadership of the organisation”.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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