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RCN elections to be rerun after candidates withdraw

RCN headquarters


The RCN will restart the presidential elections from scratch after the two remaining candidates dropped out.

The College suspended the original elections after two candidates – current president Professor Anne Marie Rafferty and mental health nurse Stuart McKenzie – were disqualified last month over complaints about breaches to election rules.

RCN chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair yesterday told members that the two remaining candidates for president, Yvonne Coghill and Julie Green, had now withdrawn and the presidential election would be run ‘afresh’.  

Both these candidates were investigated after complaints that they had also breached the election process rules but they were exonerated, she added.

Dame Donna wrote: ‘I recognise that for many of you the events of the past few weeks will have been confusing and, in some cases, concerning.

‘It is hard to see the RCN embroiled in conflict at a time when our profession has never been more in the public eye.’

A petition for an emergency general meeting and an independent review to be carried out was submitted to the RCN on Tuesday afternoon.

Dame Donna continued: ‘I have received a submission of a petition for an extraordinary general meeting, and I fundamentally support our members’ right to be heard.

‘Everyone in our profession is not just welcome, but truly needed, to make us the powerful voice of nursing.

‘That petition will now be verified,’ she added.

In addition, the RCN announced today that Dave Dawes and Carol Popplestone had been elected to the Council chair and vice chair positions respectively.

The previous chair and vice chair, Dee Sissons and Richard Jones, resigned within days of each other, shortly after the election was suspended last month, although Mr Jones cited health reasons.

Last week, former presidential candidate Ms Green asked the Government’s trade union regulator to investigate the election.

The RCN has also faced backlash over its decision to disqualify the presidential candidates, with some nurses questioning whether they had broken any rules.