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NIP Manchester: a nurse call to action

Healthcare unions have reassured nurses that they are there to provide professional support and advice during the current NHS reform.

Speaking at a panel discussion yesterday at the Nursing in Practice Event in Manchester, representatives from the major nursing unions offered their perspectives on the opportunity for nurses to be part of NHS change.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Officer, Mary-Anne Parkinson, said good partnerships with colleagues are needed if nurses are to make their voices heard. She added that the RCN's key message would be to urge nurses to take a stand and get involved with events taking place in their local area.

Gary Owen, National Head Officer for Healthcare Science at Unite, said the union understands health professionals' concerns about job security and unemployment, and questioned the validity of the government initiative, Transforming Community Services. He said: " In my view there is no need for a transformation - this is more like transferring community services, where we are returning to the old health authorities."

When asked about the dangers of corruption and a move to private provision by a practice nurse delegate, Linda Burke, Head of Revalidation at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said that employers have a duty to protect their patients. She urged the audience to look at the small print in the NMC Code and discuss any concerns with employers. All the members of the panel agreed that if any nurses are worried about their job, they should approach their employer first, and then their local MP, with the help of their union.

Finally, Donna Davenport, Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University and NiP board member, called for nurses not to be phased in light of the changes. She said: "It's important we don't feel overwhelmed by the reforms. We must all have a voice, no matter how small. Get your portfolio up to date so that you can celebrate all your successes and feel proud that you are a nurse. This is a great opportunity for us, and we must not waste it."

The Manchester Event was attended by almost 600 delegates, and the next conference will be held in London at the Business Design Centre on 20 September 2011. For more information click here

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"I worked in the community and the NHS has transferred my workplace to a private provider and now I'm being earmarked for redundancy - please don't say you support us in this field, it doesnt go very far" - Steve Mason, UK