The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced the appointment of a new chair and vice chair of its governing council.
Paul Vaughan, a nurse of more than 35 years, has been elected as chair of the RCN Council and will start in post from January.
Mr Vaughan, who is currently vice chair and has been acting chair for parts of this year, recently spoke out general practice nurses (GPNs) not being properly ‘recognised or rewarded’.
Speaking at the Labour Party conference in October Mr Vaughan used a panel session to also raise concerns about the terms and conditions of employment of GPNs.
Having served as RCN regional director for the West Midlands and as an RCN officer in the South West, Mr Vaughan started his career as a staff nurse working in ear, nose and throat services, and is now a deputy director for NHS England.
He said: ‘I’m honoured to lead RCN Council from January 2024. I’m committed to championing nursing excellence, advocating for health care equity, and amplifying the RCN as the voice of nursing for a brighter, healthier future together.’
Meanwhile, Theresa Porrett has been elected as vice chair. With a background as a specialist stoma nurse, Ms Porrett has led many governance bodies including the Royal College of Surgeons Association of Coloproctology and East London Bowel Cancer Network Board.
Pointing to concerns raised around the culture of the RCN in recent years – which also saw the membership vote for council members to stand down in 2022 – Ms Porrett said she would ‘take the learnings from recent governance reviews into the future’.
And she pledged to work with the council to ‘build on the RCN’s reputation as a representative voice and a trusted education and development resource of what’s best in modern nursing’.
RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen congratulated the pair and said: ‘I look forward to working together to continue to build upon the stability and clear vision we set out in 2023 for our organisation and as we drive forward our twin central campaigns for safe staffing and fair pay.’
Mr Vaughan succeeds Carol Popplestone as the outgoing chair of RCN Council, who has been in post since 2021.